February 2016

Rage syndrome: a case of Lyssinum

by Alex Leupen

Job is a three-year-old golden retriever. She is brought for treatment because of biting her owner in stressful situations. When she is loose, she also attacks other people and animals. This makes her owner panicky because her previous golden retriever had to be euthanized due to aggressive behavior; the rage syndrome. When Job is in a panic she begins to bite. The situation between Job and her owner is deteriorating; they are quickly losing trust in each other. The dog is very open and picks up every stimulus; when she cannot channel it, she bites. Remarkable in her behaviour is that she is repentant straight away – she shows subservient behaviour and licks her owner’s hands.

Job has various anxieties: noise (she does not dare to come in the kitchen if the dishwasher is on), she startles at slight noises, at the garden sprinkler, and at screaming children, but strangely she is not afraid of fireworks! If a firecracker explodes between her paws, she barely reacts. When she is frightened, she goes under the table and lies against the wall. She becomes hyper-excited from windy weather and runs after everything that is blown in the air.

Other characteristics: she is demanding, claiming, irritable, nervous, and shy: she responds exclusively to her owner.

She has a good appetite. She has tough, stringy saliva.

She came into heat quite late the first time. It lasted almost five weeks, instead of the usual three weeks.

She is warm-blooded; she looks for the shade and avoids the sun. She is given a yearly vaccination, which includes rabies.

Prescription: Lyssinum 30C, repeated after two weeks. Lyssinum is the rabies nosode.

Follow up: she improves enormously until her owner has her revaccinated (the complete cocktail), plus the worm pill.  After this, she has profuse diarrhea and becomes hyperactive: she chases everything that moves and attacks cyclists.

Prescription: Lyssinum 30C was repeated, but this time the reaction was not as strong. The remedy was repeated in 200C, three times in total, and the reaction was positive. The owner was advised to stop the rabies vaccinations and the monthly deworming sessions.

Differential Diagnosis
Stramonium but the fear of water plus the thick stringy saliva confirmed the choice for Lyssinum.

Rubric: anger alternating with quick repentance.

An unknown percentage of dogs reacts this way to rabies vaccinations, usually not the first time but after the second or third vaccination. These days, asking about the reactions to vaccinations has become a standard question when treating dogs that have suddenly become aggressive or have changes of behavior.

With dogs needing Lyssinum, one sees a contradictory behavior – on the one hand, they are afraid of trifles and on the other hand, oblivious to things one would expect them to be afraid of.

Photo: Shutterstock
Dog barking; Cesar Outon

Categories: Cases
Keywords: rage syndrome, barking, biting, demanding, irritable, nervous, shy, rabies vaccination


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