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Monday, February 28, 2011

Vaccine Related Head Tremors

Illy at 14 weeks old

If you recall from a much older post, White Feather had what we believe to be vaccine related head tremors after her first puppy shot at 8 weeks old. Thanks to Swanny, a member of our Hedlund Husky Preservation group and his partner Janece, an animal behaviorist, we were able to get her through those head tremors with a regime of natural supplements. White Feather is now 19 months old and we haven't seen a head tremor since.

Can you imagine our shock when a week after giving Illy and Aise their second puppy shot, Illy began to have head tremors! Since I thought (hoped) we would never see them again, I didn't keep the supplement dosage information and contacted Swanny again. Since White Feather's issue, there has apparently been some more research completed and a new supplement lends itself even better for this type of issue. We had been giving White Feather up to 500mg of Ester C once per day and 9mg of Melatonin three times per day. Ester C boosts the immune system and the Melatonin works with serotonin production in the brain to help calm it. The new supplement that is now taking the place of Melatonin in Illy's regime is 5-HTP which is the same natural drug found in Turkey. You know how you want to curl up on the couch and nap after a big Thanksgiving meal? It's the tryptophan in the Turkey that does that and 5-HTP is essentially the same thing. 5-HTP is more concentrated than Melatonin and works more quickly to ease the after affects.

Illy will be on 500mg of Ester C and 100mg of 5-HTP per day for the next month.

We've done an awful lot of puzzling over why this could have happened twice in our kennel and have come up with some similarities that are worth considering in the future. In addition to the fact that primitive lines of dogs seem to be more affected by head tremors after receiving a distemper shot, stress around the time of the shot seems to play a role. White Feather and Illy are related. White Feather's brother Tumac is Illy's father. We first noted head tremors in White Feather a week after the shot and at a puppy class where she was noticeably stressed.

We first noticed head tremors in Illy a week after the shot at a women's event when she was introduced to the drop lines and spent time with the big dogs. A drop line is a long cable with individual drop lines that are connected to the collar ring of each dog. That long cable is then connected on both ends to something sturdy such as a tree, a post or an ice screw. The big dogs camp out on these lines when we are away from home. Illy was noticeably stressed that weekend. Aise was stressed as well so why is Aise not displaying the same side affects? Topa, White Feather's sister, was also at the same puppy class that White Feather attended when we first noticed her head tremors so why did Topa not have them? Aise and Topa likely were just dealt a different set of genetic "cards" not as sensitive to the distemper shot.

As we have discovered over the years, vet medicine (or just plain human medicine for that matter) is not an exact science. There are so many pieces of the puzzle that it will likely never be just plain black and white. All we can do it our best with the information we have when we try to uncover the reasons and the treatments. Thank goodness for the help of others around us (Swanny and Janece) who know more about this than we do!

Illy has been on the supplements for over a week and did have a very low key weekend at our women's event last weekend. She remained in the cabin with the little house dogs when Aise went in to socialize at the main lodge but did get to meet nine visitors at a time while she and Aise hung out in their pen at our courses during the day. We specifically did not want her on a drop line this weekend considering the stress it caused her last weekend and she seemed to enjoy the pen and the visitors. The head tremors do appear less frequent at the moment.

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