Yorkie Encephalitis: Muffin’s Vaccine Reaction

August 11, 2012


Muffin was a healthy, happy little 1 1/2  year old pup who was full of life and enthusiasm, always off  on some adventure, and ready to play whenever anyone would give her the time of day.   She was very loving and affectionate, but quite the little explorer, and very independent.   She was known then, in her puppy training classes, as Miss Muffin.  Very bright, loving and full of the devil, she was always getting into mischief.

When my mom passed away 2 1/2 years ago, we needed to go back east for the funeral.  Although I wanted to take the girls with me, my family felt it would be better if they did not come, so I looked around for the most trust worthy sitter I could find to care for my two precious babies while I was gone.  Who better than my local Vet?  She boarded pets, I knew, and I trusted her completely, as she had been my vet for many years previously when my baby Merlin was still with me.  He too was a very tiny yorkie, so I felt completely safe leaving them.  They told me Muffin needed a rabies shot and they would take care of it while I was gone.  “No biggie,” I thought. Foolish Me!!! 

The night we flew back into San Diego, I was so grateful to be home, and I could not wait to pick up my two precious bundles.  We immediately went to the Vet’s office and I was told they did very well, and they loved going outside and playing with the leaves. It was Autumn and the days were cool, but still sunny and bright. There were no issues, they said.
So I happily took them home, and began to hug and kiss them, gave them some food and took them into bed with me.  I was so happy to see them after such a trying time back east.  Holding them close and being bathed in kisses and snuggles seemed to have a wonderful effect. The acute and gripping pain from the terrible loss of my mom, the feelings of sadness and loss, even  the tears, seemed to diminish somewhat, when they licked tear my stained cheek, and I could feel their healing love emanating from their little beings. So when I picked Muffin up to hug her, and she began to scream in pain, for no apparent reason, I was floored.  I could not understand how she could be perfectly fine at the Vets. and the night I take her home and start to give her some love, she begins to scream.  I was very worried and I called the Vet the next day.  They told me there was nothing to be concerned about, as Muffin did very well while we were gone, and maybe it was just a reaction to my being gone for 12 days.  They said to give it a few days and let her get used to being home again.
I now know, I should have insisted that they see her immediately, but I did not know any better and resolved to it give a few days to see how she behaved. The next day, she began looking at me quizzically, with her head tilted to the side.  I wondered if she wanted something but was unable to communicate it to me.  I refrained from touching her around the head and neck area and handled her very gingerly, and although she did not cry out, her head tilting continued.  In addition, she was not eating enthusiastically, the way she usually does.  She has a ravenous appetite, and could probably eat three times her weight in food if I let her. I call her my little plumpet.  She is almost 4 lbs, and she definitely should weigh no more than 3 1/2,  per several Vets, because she is so tiny.  She never says no to a snack or food of any kind.  She just loves to eat, so when she began walking away from her food bowl, with most of the food untouched, I was very worried.  I called my Vet again, and reported the incident.  I was again told that it was probably due to the separation, and to give it a little while.
As days passed, I noticed Muffin was not playing as usual.  She was not asking to be held.  She was barely eating.  The head tilt continued.  The painful screaming if I touched her head, also unchanged. All unresolved. I was beginning to get panicky, and sick to my soul.  Something terrible was happening, and no one was acknowledging it.  To say I was frightened, was an understatement.   I had had it. 
I called the Vet’s office and told them I was not giving it any more time.  She was slowly getting worse, not better.  I brought her in.  My Vet examined her and said she did not see anything unusual, but she was concerned about one thing.  She took her in the back to examine her further and returned with her, stating that she was concerned that Muffin might be blind in one eye.  She asked if Muffin had ever had a problem seeing, and I told her, there was never a problem with her eyes.  She was a normal happy pup when I left her to go back east to the funeral.  I felt knots in my stomach start to grind, I felt nauseous.  My Vet told me she wanted me to either see either an Ophtamalogist or a neurologist at VSH in Sorrento Valley.  For the Ophtamalogist she recommended Dr. Basher at VSH.
I left the Vet’s office weeping.  My poor baby was blind in her left eye and my Vet did not know why.  I held Muffin close and cried into her soft black fur.  I immediately made an appointment with a VSH neurologist.  But they could not get me in for about a week because it was not considered an emergency.
The next day Muffin started to have difficulty standing and getting up from a prone position. When she did get up and could stay up for a short while, she started walking in circles or tilting her body, as well as her head, to the side, and falling over.  When she began falling  over to the side consistently, she  eventually could not get up on her own.  She started to cry.  She was terrified about what was happening to her.  As I watched this horror unfold before me I became hysterical. I knew I shouldn’t, that I should try to control it for her sake, and I did try, but I was panicky and there was no way to hide it.   I picked her up and held her close and that is the only time she stopped crying. Her terror eased up a bit when I was holding her, so I began holding her non stop.  These new developments happened in the space of a few hours. 
I called VSH and told them it was an emergency, and that I had to come in immediately.  As I explained what was occurring through my tears and sobs, they told me that the neurologists had already left for the day, and I lived more than an hour away from VSH, so I would have to wait until the next day. Usually Muffin likes to sleep in her little bed right by the side of my bed.  But I slept with Muffin that night, and would continue to sleep with her for many many nights to come.  That night I got on the computer, while she was still in my arms, and started doing my own research into the symptoms I had been observing. Time after time I ran across articles about over vaccination, about the toxicity of the rabies shot, and the danger of giving multiple shots together, which i read can increase the percentage of a toxic reaction of up of to 70%, especially in very small dogs, (but also in larger dogs as well.)
The next day we saw the neurologist at VSH.  After an evaluation and an MRI, they told us that Muffin had what they called Yorkie Encephalitis.  They told us that basically,  her brain was inflamed. There was no cure. They denied that it had anything to do with vaccinations.  They said it was just a coincidence that she recently had them.  “These things happen out of the blue”, I was told.  They just happen, and no one knows why.  She was given a poor prognosis, with a very short lifespan, and for whatever was left of her life, she would need to be on heavy steroids to reduce the inflammation in her brain. I told the neurologist that I would think about it, but I wasn’t ready to put her on those heavy steroids.  I knew steroids were dangerous, because I myself had had experience with being given steroids, and I became very very ill from them.  I didn’t want this for Muffin. Stunned and in a daze, I stumbled out of the hospital and took Muffin home.
There are no words, no words at all to describe the pain our family was going through.  I had not even had a chance to grieve the death of my mother, and here was another terrible impending loss staring me right in the face.  And Muffin was so young, a baby really, so innocent and in the prime of her life, struck down by what??? All I was told, was that no one really knew.  I cried until I couldn’t weep anymore.  I watched her diminish as she started to grow weaker from not eating.  I wet her fur with my tears, and she licked them away. I couldn’t sleep for several days, thinking about what to do.  I felt semi-paralyzed.  I felt guilty for leaving them, guilty for listening to my Vet when she told me to wait before bringing her in, guilty that I didn’t do enough to ensure this would never happen to her.
Then the kernel of a question started nagging at the corners of my mind. Why was it that my Vet did not seem to be aware of any symptoms?  Did it take twelve days for them to develop?  I resolved to call my Vet the next day.  After I called, and I  asked when Muffin had been given her rabies shot, I was told that she had it the very day I got home, along with another shot.  I did not know that they gave her both shots at the same time.  I did not know that they waited twelve days before even giving her the shot. I thought she had gotten it when she first came in.   So she received both shots on the day I picked her up. I wondered why they didn’t separate the shots by a few days, as I had been gone for 12 days and there was surely plenty of time.    No wonder they didn’t see anything amiss. The symptoms hadn’t started to appear until a few hours later, when I took her home.   The light was starting to dawn. 
That night I began to search my area and all surrounding areas for a holistic Veterinarian.  I began to believe, that if there was any hope, any hope at all of saving Muffins life, it would lie with a holistic Vet.  But there was no one I could find close to me.  I continued to do research on my computer for many sleepless days and nights, Muffin always in my arms, her little body wasting away, and snuggling close.  There were several down on the coast of San Diego and a few inland Vets.  All were more than an hour away.  But I was determined to go to any lengths to save her life.  And how to choose between them? Time was of the essence.  But I didn’t know anything about any of these Vets. I did further research on the net, trying to glean as much information as I could about each of the Vets within driving distance of my house.  But you can only find out so much on the net, and I didn’t want Muffin’s time to run out because I couldn’t make a decision. Sometimes, you just have to choose, to do something, before it is too late, and hope to god you made the right decision. I decided I would let my higher self, my intuition, guide me, and hope for the best.  And that is how I found my miraculous Vet, Dr. Tamara Hebbler.  The energy was there, it drew me to her, and I knew I found our Vet.,
The next day I called her, and sobbing into the telephone, I blubbered out my misery, fear and pain.  I told her Muffins story.  Although I forgot to mention the shots Muffin received, only describing her symptoms, she asked me if Muffin had had any recent vaccinations.  Surprised at this question, because it was so relevant, I told her yes, very recently.  She asked many questions, and listened intently.  Finally she told me to come down immediately, she said “I can help you”.  It was then, I knew in my heart, that I had found the right one. Thus began our adventure into holistic medicine and a world of healing.  She told me things I had never known before.  For example, even though Muffin was diagnosed with Yorkie encephalitis, the actual cause of this diagnosis was vaccinosis.  She had heavy metal poisoning in the brain which caused inflammation and what they called “Yorkie Encephalitis”   Also, sometimes, many times, little dogs are given as much rabies vaccine as a great dane, and that over vaccination is more common than most people know. 
For six months Muffin was put on a regime of Reiki treatments, Bach Flower Remedy’s, holistic supplements, chiropractic treatments, cranial sacral balancing (I think that’s what it’s called), and I think for a very short time, even some very mild steroids.  There may have been more treatments that I don’t remember.  We went down to the coast to see Dr. Hebbler about three times a week.  It was exhausting, expensive and time consuming.  There were lots and lots of supplements sometimes two to three times a day. There was muscle testing and even some laughter, spiritual counseling, and treatments for me, so that my energy would be positive for Muffin, as I was a basket case :-).  Muffin slowly started to improve. 
The bottom line is this, Muffin has completely recovered.  Slowly, she started to come back to herself, she started eating, then walking again, then the head tilt improved.  She even began playing again.  She has even recovered some sight in her blind eye.  There are no more heavy metals in her brain.  She is her bouncy, rascally little self once again.  She will never get rabies shots again.  We will do titers. Sometimes the rabies shots can last a lifetime.  This is a story with a happy ending.  The journey was agony, but the ending is a happy one. The time, energy and expense were great.  Would I do it again?  In a heartbeat. It was worth every ounce of energy, every dime spent, every mile traveled, every sleepless minute, every tear wept.  I am one of the lucky ones. I feel as if I am one of the luckiest people on the planet, as if I had won a multimillion dollar lottery.  I came within a hare’s breath of losing Muffin, the light of my life.  Yes, almost certainly Muffin would have lost her life if not for Dr. Hebbler. I would not have my little girl with me  in my life anymore.
But a great many people are not so lucky.  They may not have found a Vet like Dr. Hebbler in time.  Or they may not even know, to this day, what really happened when they lost a perfectly healthy, happy pet, for no apparent reason. The pain, heartache, expense and loss, has caused untold misery and damage to too many families, unnecessarily. The current policy for vaccination protocol needs to be reassessed and changed.   It has to end.  There needs to be a sane, humane solution to the vaccination problem. There needs to be more awareness about the dangers of over vaccination. It’s gone on too long already.  The time has come.
This is our story. 
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One Response to Yorkie Encephalitis: Muffin’s Vaccine Reaction

  1. StaceyMcCloud on September 29, 2014 at 10:14 am

    So happy that Muffin survived, my Angus was not. So lucky ! Everything you wrote on symptoms was the same as my boy! But he was diagnosed from the Rabies shot months later from the New Vet and she tried Holistic but my boy was to far gone , I think the steroids were to much for him:(
    I still cry all the time thinking about what we did everyday to save him , the meds/ fee digs the spinning and spinning my poor baby

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