27 Apr 11

Mina’s Story ...

by Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com

Mina’s Story

Margaret Norris was so excited last summer to bring home a new member of the family, Mina.  Adopted as a small kitten from Last Hope Animal Rescue last summer, Mina, a jet black cat who is now almost a year old cat had a very scary health problem just this past March.  After a visit to the vet for her rabies shot, Mina have such a very rare and uncommon reaction to the vaccination, it had doctor’s baffled.

We adopted our kitty, Mina, from a shelter when she was two months old and she has been just the sweetest little girl – very affectionate, loves to be held and carried. Mina had been given vaccinations by the shelter vet before we got her, and got some additional vaccinations from our vet when she was four months old, with no problems.

A couple of weeks ago I took her in for her final vaccine, for rabies. She seemed fine for a day or so, and then gradually began to become very lethargic and stopped eating and drinking. Four days after the vaccine I took her back to the vet because she hadn’t had anything to eat or drink for more than 24 hours. She had begun hiding behind furniture and wouldn’t come out. When I took her in to the vet she could barely pick her head up off the examining table, and when the vet palpitated her abdomen she practically snarled at him.

He kept her at his clinic for four days and she seemed slightly better after she got some IV fluids and an antibiotic. Unfortunately, her blood tests came back showing that she was extremely anemic, and she would need blood transfusions. At this point he was stymied as to what was causing the symptoms because apparently it is highly unusual to have this kind of a reaction to the rabies vaccine. (There are some other very rare reactions, but anemia isn’t one of them.)

He sent her to a veterinary internal medicine specialist, who was also baffled. The specialist vet gave her two kitty blood transfusions, did ultrasound and discovered her spleen was enlarged, and did a whole bunch of other tests which ruled out feline leukemia and blood parasites. His final diagnosis was that the rabies vaccine somehow caused her immune system to attack her red blood cells, so he put her on steroids to suppress the immune response.

Fortunately, all of this treatment saved the kitty’s life, but it came at a cost of almost $4000. Luckily for us, we decided to buy Trupanion Pet Health Insurance a few months ago, so we will only end up paying $400 instead. When we signed up for the policy I kind of thought it was a waste of money, but not any more. While the insurance is relatively inexpensive- $20 a month for Mina – for young animals, I’ve decided to add our two older animals to the policy too. Pet health insurance – $20 a month – not having to watch our beloved kitty die because the treatment is too expensive – priceless.”

Margaret initially knew a friend that had pet health insurance and heard about Trupanion through her veterinarian’s office.  She said they are very happy with Trupanion, the plan, policies and customer service.  For Mina her future prognosis is good, she does have to go for follow up blood count at the vet soon – but Margaret said she is back to her old happy, sweet, playful self.  Margaret also said, although Mina had this ordeal, she will still always vaccinate her other pets with the rabies vaccination – as this was such a rare thing to happen – that the doctor’s never heard of this before.  The rabies vaccination is also required by New York State Law – and since we have had outbreaks in raccoons over the last few years in our area – it would be irresponsible and unlawful not to vaccinate.

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