Vaccinating Unhealthy Pets: Beware Reactions & Vaccine Failure

Written by Jan on April 29, 2009 – 1:00 am

Despite the huge tumor on his mouth, this sweet dog was given 7 shots 4 weeks before this photo was taken. The tumor grew 10-15% after the shots.."

Despite the huge tumor on his mouth, this sweet dog was given 7 shots 4 weeks before this photo was taken. The tumor grew 10-15% after the shots."

All vaccine labels and inserts state that vaccines are for use in “healthy dogs only.” Unfortunately, no one defines “healthy.”

Most knowledgeable vets agree that certain animals should NOT be vaccinated (absent proven, urgent need such as inevitable exposure to a life-threatening disease). These  include, but aren’t limited to, pets with autoimmune disease … pets undergoing chemo, radiation or surgery (even dental cleaning or neutering) … pets with autoimmune disease, cancer, severe allergies and skin diseases … pets fighting an illness or parasites … pets stressed from shipment or a move to a new home … malnourished pets … and dying housebound pets.  Assaulting the immune systems  of these animals with vaccination has been likened to throwing gas on a raging fire.

Vaccination is big business and an old habit.  Dogs and cats need an advocate with common sense (and a strong backbone) to stand up for their pets. That means you!

So why shouldn’t you vaccinate a sick, stressed or geriatric pet? For one thing, the pet may develop adverse reactions ranging from fever to seizures to autoimmune disease to anaphylactic shock  and even death. (Click this link  to see other possible adverse reactions.) Furthermore, shots administered to an unhealthy animal may fail to provide immunity while giving you the false security that your dog is protected.  On top of that, the animal’s immune system, which should be fighting illness, may be diverted to handle the shot.

Vaccine manufacturer Pfizer states, regarding precautions when using their rabies vaccine:  “A protective immune response may not be elicited if animals are incubating an infectious disease, are malnourished or parasitized, are stressed due to shipment or environmental conditions, are otherwise immunocompromised….”

According to the University of Nebraska’s  “Understanding Vaccines”: “While it is common to vaccinate stressed animals, these animals are more susceptible to adverse vaccine reactions and frequently do not develop an adequate immune response. Immune stressed animals develop limited protection from vaccination.” states, re the Rabies Vaccine Precautions:  “… level of performance may be affected by conditions of use such as stress, weather, nutrition, disease, parasitism, other treatments, individual idiosyncrasies or impaired immunological competency.  These factors should be considered by the user when evaluating product performance or freedom from reactions.”

Even humans are at risk if a rabies shot fails and the animal becomes infected with rabies. So great is the danger of vaccinating sick and chronically-ill pets that many, if not most, state and local health authorities allow a temporary or permanent exemption from rabies vaccination for these pets. Click to learn how to apply for a rabies vaccination exemption.

I asked some veterinarian friends to share their opinions on this issue. (Note: bold blue type was done by me to emphasize important points.) Special thanks to over-vaccination activist Dr. Patricia Jordan for her help in rounding up responses and references.

From Tamara Hebbler, DVM, holistic consulting vet (San Diego):

The most disturbing, relatively routine, veterinary practice is vaccinating ill or compromised animals.  I am appalled that this is still happening yet I hear from my clients that it is more the norm than the exception.

Vaccinating a stressed or ill dog violates our Hippocratic Oath: Above All Do No HarmWhen an animal is going in for surgery or chemo, or has an autoimmune disease or neoplastic condition [a tumor], or even a chronic immune challenge such as allergies or endocrine/metabolic diseases, they are at a high increased risk to an adverse reaction to any vaccine. I liken such vaccination to playing Russian Roulette with an animal’s immune system — with 5 of the 6 barrels loaded, not just 1.

If negative reactions are severe enough, and immediate, most people will connect the reaction to the shot.  However, if the reaction develops over a few weeks or months, you may not tie it to the shot – and your vet probably won’t either. In standard veterinary practice, we have brief appointments and are very busy, I regret to say, treating many of the dis-ease states that we as a profession, with the help of the pet food industry, have created.  It is only through laborious record review that I made the connection.

Be bold and stand up for your pet especially when he or she is not feeling well. Just say NO to vaccinations and start researching and titer testing.

From Jean Hofve, DVM and
Former Editor-in-Chief of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association Journal :

Vaccination puts a tremendous burden on the immune system to mount a protective response. If the response is to be adequate and provide protection against disease, there shouldn’t be any other immune-compromising stresses present. Clearly, an animal already fighting an infection, injury, or other illness is not going to have adequate resources to devote to the vaccine–and it could take away from its ability to fight what’s already there. Chemotherapy and steroids suppress the immune system and deplete its ability to produce a good vaccine response. Even something as seemingly benign as a bath or an elective surgery or dental procedure will reduce body temperature, a stress which can also inhibit the immune system. These are some of the reasons why the directions on every vial of vaccine say “for use in healthy animals only.”

From Michael Dym, VMD:

[Re should you vaccinate sick pets?]: That would depend upon definition of what “sick” is……..Dogs with chronic autoimmune diseases (most of chronic diseases seen in today’s pets) would go under that definition of ill health to me………Most vets ROUTINELY give shots to epileptic pets, dogs with prior histories of mast cell tumors,  cats with autoimmune based diabetes, IBD patients, asthmatic animals, severe skin allergic pets, etc……….They are not healthy in my opinion and should not be vaccinated……….The vaccine companies have themselves legally protected by placing inserts with all vaccines saying “for use in healthy animals only” leaving that legal definition up to often ignorant vets on this topic……. .Follow the dollar signs!!!!…….THAT is the tragedy………

From Stephen R. Blake, DVM  (San Diego)  Author of The Pet Whisperer:

All vaccines come with a label warning from the manufacturer, advising the practitioner to not vaccinate animals who are not healthy. The sad part about this story is the veterinary community has set the bar so low for our animals, that as long as the animal is breathing, you can vaccinate them. I see records with pets who had ear infections, low grade fevers, eye and ear discharges, ear infections, allergic dermatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, abscessed teeth, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, auto immune disease, chronic arthritis, lameness, abscesses, Etc ., when they came to the veterinarian to evaluate their health issues and they were vaccinated in spite of having one or more of these issues. Not only are they vaccinated but for up to 10 different diseases simultaneously.

The clients are not being informed about the potential danger to their pets and are also being told their pets need these vaccinations, when there is no science to support such recommendations. This is not good medical practice and endangers the health of our animal patients…. Supply and demand are the driving forces in any economy for the success or failure of any product. As the public becomes more educated as to the truth about vaccinations, this practice will go the way of the dinosaur.

From  Patricia Monahan Jordan, DVM, CVA, CTCVH & Herbology,
co-author of an upcoming book on the dangers of vaccination Mark of the Beast:

An Australian study found most of the animals undergoing vaccination were not healthy and should not have been receiving vaccines; it is criminal in my book. … So many of our animals are now sick and diseased with autoimmune disease or cancer and yet again get the big jab under the guise that “he is due for rabies.”  …. so many stressed animals, malnourished animals, animals with any health issues should not be just jabbed…….especially with rabies, due to what this vaccination while stressed or immune-compromised means to endangering both the animal and especially the public’s health and exposure risk.

I am sitting on pulled research, each and every one of these cases should be addressed in a court of law and culpable responsibility assigned on the basis of the research already available that these medical disasters are predictable effects of the vaccines….
So what should you do if your dog is unhealthy but “due for shots”? Before you make that appointment, read my article Vaccinating Dogs: 10 Steps to Eliminating Unnecessary Shots Your pet may not even need the recommended shots. (For cat shot info, please visit LittleBigCat and Cat  Also read Titer Test: Don’t Vaccinate Your Dog Unnecessarily.  And if your dog needs vaccination for licensing, ask your vet to apply for a temporary or permanent exemption to the rabies shot.
Unless you know that your dog is 100% well and free of even allergies or dental disease, do NOT go to a shot clinic or give a shot yourself.  An Australian study, reported in “Prevalence of intercurrent disease in dogs and cats presented for vaccination at a veterinary practice,” found: “Fifty-two percent of animals were found to suffer from intercurrent disease and 3% had severe debilitating disease. A thorough clinical examination conducted at the time of routine vaccination appears to be an important element in maintaining companion animal health and welfare.” Failure to determine health, and to put off vaccinating a comprised dog, may well endanger the dog ‘s health or cause the vaccination to fail.
Forearmed with knowledge about vaccine duration of immunity, speak to your vet about postponing shots until your dog is well. You might even print this article for your vet if you find resistance. If you still find resistance, find another vet.
I hope you’ll bookmark this article and share it with friends. Don’t let them make a mistake they may never be able to undo.

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Tags: adverse reactions, autoimmune, bad reaction, bad reactions, cat, cats, dog, dogs, parvovirus, rabies shot, rabies vaccine, seizure, shots, sick, side effects, titer testing, vaccinate, vaccinating, Vaccination, vaccine, vet, veterinarian
Posted under Cancer, Uncategorized, Vaccination, Veterinarians | 119 Comments » Email This Post

119 Comments to “Vaccinating Unhealthy Pets: Beware Reactions & Vaccine Failure”

  1. Rose Says:

    Hi Jan,

    Yes, she had been previously vaccinated, unfortunately camping grounds and a dog license so you can take your dog to the beach require you have the vaccination. But no she did was in no danger from rabies and definitely would not have bitten anyone.

    The breeder who we carefully got her from @ 16 weeks old warned us about vaccines so other than rabies we we did not get too many other vaccinations after a year old and now I am researching yet again what to do about them with our new puppy (a few weeks ago we put a deposit on a little companion miniature dachshund for Ruby, never did we dream she would never get to meet him) he is a only 4 weeks old and we won’t be picking him up for another 4 weeks but I am now terrified of vaccinations and vets. We buried Ruby Tuesday (super hard to do) so I think an autopsy is not going to happen now but I wish I had thought of it, it all happened so fast, I didn’t even think of the rabies shot until last night as I am trying to understand how even cancer can make a dog to from fine one week and dead the next.

    If the vet was negligent with insisting on a rabies shot and should be reported and taken to small claims court, to be more careful with pets, what $ should one put on it, I do not care about any monetary outcome but I assume you have to put some number on it so what would be an appropriate amount to scare her? Also do you know if they allow just a titer instead in MA? Thank you so much for your reply!

  2. Jan Says:

    Rose, in almost all locations (see ), adult dogs need only be vaccinated against rabies every three years. If you vet violated that, it’s BAD.

    Small claims usually allows the original cost of the dog plus training, but of course, that’s not nearly enough. Still, you can sue for the small claims limit in your state. Some states are allowing pain to be figured in.

    No states allow titers yet, but we are hoping that the Rabies Challenge Fund will have a titer standard soon.

    Re your pup, please read this: And see the videos on this site.

    Take care, Jan

  3. Veronica Says:

    I just took my nearly 13 old boykin spaniel, Brady, for his yearly exam today. I normally stay away from vets as much as possible, but the last year or so I started having yearly checkups for Brady, and my 18 yr old cat, because they’re getting old and I want to keep an eye on their blood work. Brady lost an eye to glaucoma about 3 years ago, and he’s had cataract surgery in the other eye, and is now pretty much blind. He has a slow growing mass on his left rib cage that is hard as a rock. I noticed it when it was small a few years ago, and it’s slowy getting bigger. My other vet says she wouldn’t put him through the surgery to remove it because of his age.

    I stopped vaccinating my pets around 10 years ago when I discovered the truth about them. Brady’s last vaccinations were in 2004 when he was only 3 yrs old. Today when I went to the vet, Brady was injected with Distemper/Parvo before I knew it. I saw a needle in him and asked what it was, and he told me. I freaked out! I felt sick at my stomach when I saw that needle sticking out of my sweet dog. I told him I don’t vaccinate!!! (This should be in his chart). I told him I haven’t vaccinated him in years! Actually, the last time I vaccinated him in 2004 was when I worked THERE as a vet tech and wanted to be able to bring Brady to work with me, so I had him vaccinated so that I could. I had been working from home all of Brady’s life and didn’t want to leave him at home all day when he could come to work with me, so I weighed it out and decided that he was young, and healthy and he could handle it. Well, he did fine almost 10 years ago, but he’s not young and healthy anymore!!!! I would NEVER willingly vaccinate an elderly dog with health problems. I’m SO MAD! He didn’t charge me for the vaccine, but I can’t get the vaccine out of my dog!!! I’m keeping a close eye on him and will see if I can find what symptoms to be on the lookout for. Hopefully, my prayers will be answered and he’ll be ok!

  4. SuziB Says:

    As I am reading all of these stories I find it amazing that the warning lable on these vaccines say not to give to a sick animal. This should be a red flag for anyone in their right mind! If it is not good for a sick animal, why would you give it to a healthy animal?
    It is kind of like the back of a tube of toothpaste or mouthwash. Have you ever read the label? It warns to call poison control if swallowed. .. yet people put this crap in their bodies everyday!

  5. Veronica Says:

    It was confirmed today by Mississippi State University that Brady’s mass/tumor that I mentioned here a few weeks ago is in fact cancer. Soooooo, my dog that has a HUGE cancerous tumor on his body, was vaccinated without my consent. GRRRR!!!!! P.S. He Whines all the time, and I’m not sure if his eye is bothering him or if it’s the tumor, or maybe it’s because he has dementia, but whatever the cause of the the whining, I we noticed a huge increase in the whining the week following the vaccine. He also had a hot spot come up the day after the vaccine. 🙁

  6. Karen Says:

    On December 30 at 2:15 I took my sweet energetic dog Seth to the vet for his 3 year rabies vaccination. He’s been seeing the same vet for most of his life, 7 yrs. In 2008 he was diagnosed with pemphigus foliaceus, an autoimmune disease of the skin and has been on prednisone since. During his visit December30, the doctor examined him and we discussed, in length, his condition. He said that lungs were clear, heart sounds good, temp good and eyes are bright and clear. His comment, ‘bright eyed and bushy tailed” Seth jumped up for treats and was so spoiled there. We visited often to check his condition, at least 4 times a year. On December 31 @ 4 am, 14 hours after the shot, he woke us up vomiting in his kennel. I got up and started to take care of him like mommies do and called the vet as soon as they opened and asked if he could be having a reaction to the rabies vaccination, they said No, that would not be the reaction this many hours after the shot, bring him in for blood work and xrays. We did that morning and dr. said his liver levels were very high and xrays show enlarged liver and that we should take him for an ultrasound on Thursday, today….He gave us antibiotics and anti nausea meds and told us “not something that will kill him today” we went home and at 1 am that night, New Years Day he woke us up crying, his kennel is next to our bed. He couldn’t even lift his head. My husband called the Emergency vet,—- because the man we’ve trusted for the last 6 years with our 10 plus animals told us “it would be terrible if he goes down hill tonight and you have to take him to the emergency vet 20 miles away”– so HE OBVIOUSLY was not going to go in for us if we called. WE put our sweet boy in the car and headed to the ER vet—Seth passed away 5 minutes later while I was holding his head, less than 36 hours after the shot. I am so devastated and even more so since I found this page. Seth should have never had the rabies vaccination due to the autoimmune disease. I’ve learned now that I could have requested a waiver due to his autoimmune condition. The vet NEVER said ANYTHING about his health condition being a concern in giving him the vaccination or even suggested a waiver to me!!!! I am so sick that I trusted that man to do the right thing for my Seth. Now he’s gone. My heart hurts so much. I will spread the word to all pet owners I can to be careful of vaccinations. I thought I was doing the right thing and obeying the LAW requiring rabies vac. I had a strange feeling about it and even waited, I should have listened to my intuition.

  7. Jan Says:

    Karen, my heart breaks for you. Your ignorant and/or arrogant, unfeeling vet should have never vaccinated a dog with autoimmune disease. That’s like throwing gasoline on a fire. Any vet should know this. And to not admit that it was the vaccine is unforgivable. In fact, the vaccine manufacturer’s own package insert says to vaccinate “healthy dogs only.” Shame on him/her!

    In 2005, Purdue vet school did a study of 1.5 million dogs and their vaccine reactions THREE DAYS after vaccination. It was published in the AVMA Journal and referred to in journals and reports everywhere. Furthermore, reactions are known to happen up to 45 days after vaccination and cancers and autoimmune diseases can happen even 10 years later.

    When you feel up to it, please report the reaction to the manufacturer. They may offer to pay your vet bills although since your dog shouldn’t have been vaccinated, they may refuse. Anyway, they need to know and have to report it to the USDA.

    You should also file a complaint with your state veterinary board and/or small claims court. Make the vet pay.

    And please do spread the word. I have a great article on Questions to Ask Before Vaccinating: One of the questions is: Is your dog healthy?

  8. Deborah Gies Says:

    Vaccines given to everyone are simply a money maker for Big Pharma. Starting with human infants at 1 day old. 48 vaccines before age 6 is designed to make you sick.If you are sick you need a doctor then the doctor will write you a prescription. Big Pharma keeps you as a customer for life!!!
    Animals develop all the same autoimmune disorders, diabetes, seizures etc,,, Just like people!! So many fail to make the connection to chronic illness and vaccinations.

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  10. Joanne Wiz Says:

    I wish i found this website soon. I took my 4 year old Shi-poo dog for her 3 years rabies booster shot two weeks ago, the following day after her vaccine, i notice a sign of lameness of her hind legs, more noticeable on her left legs where the vaccine was give, i thought maybe she was just sore from the needdle, as days progress 5 days to be exact, she seems like she was getting worse, both hind legs are keep collapsing when she walk further, so i took her back to her, insisting sigh might have some reaction from the vaccine, but my Vet wouldn’t acknowledge the possibility, so she ordered a blood work and an x-ray to be done, and had me take my dog home with non steroid anti-inflammatory called metacam,.

    the following day the result of the blood word came back normal and the x-ray of the spine also read normal but she still suspect that my dog has bulging disc that might causing the weakness of her hind legs, 8 days after the vaccine, i took my dog back to the vet again because she is twice as worse, she lost her appetite, my dog became lethargic, restless and distant and her hind legs collapsed more when she stand.

    She still insist that its not the vaccine that causing my dog all these. She still think its her spine, and sent my dog home with steriod, muscle relaxer and pain killer to be administer, but nothing seems to work because today at exactly 14 days after her vaccined my dog is in coma and confined in a Neurology Vet. Center, base of the MRI she has a really bad inflammation of the brain which i really don’t understand because she was so healthy prior to the vaccine.

    My regular vet called the manufacturer of the rabies vaccine and told them the side effect and they told the vet that they can reimbursed me $500 for it, but i don’t want the money, i just want my pal to be back, conscious and healthy.. I’m so scared right now with the possibility of loosing my dog, shes like a child to me…i’m so hurt..If i can just turn back the time, i would never get her vaccine again.

  11. Jan Says:

    Joanne, sadly I hear a story like yours all the time. Hind end lameness happens all too often. I’m not a lawyer and can’t give you legal advice, but if you took the money, you would have money to help pay vet bills. Or ask them to pay all your vet bills. Where do you live? Maybe I know a vet who can help. What does your own vet think?

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  13. Darla Says:

    I had to board my dog Jan. 2009 and had to get current on some of his vaccinations. 3 mos. after my dog was vaccinated he developed discoid lupus around the eyes and severe skin problems. That was in 2009. I have taken him to a holistic vet who helped keep his lupus under control by using Isotherapy. I have struggled with his skin problems off and on over the years. Especially when given antibiotics for whatever reason. It will take months to get it cleared up. I do not go to the vet for his skin condition. I have used different supplements and have always kept him on raw food. That has always been successful. I know people who have taken their dogs to the vet for skin problems and are put on one medication after another until their dogs end up with cancer or other fatal diseases. I will not vaccinate him again because I know in my heart that he will die. It will be like euthanizing him. He also bloated and they found a huge tumor in his spleen. They had to remove the spleen. I really believe that is what caused the bloating and the tumor was caused by the vaccinations.

  14. J. Says:

    I figured out the dangers of vaccines 15 years ago. I had herding breeds who always had a reaction to them and would be back at the vet the next day for another shot to stop the diarrhea and vomiting. I found out through the internet that there is a gene in the herding breeds that make them more prone to reactions. Why didn’t any of my vets ever know this? My last one did not have any shots after the age of 1, was raw fed, organic, free range, no treats, no veggies, no extras and he still died on me at the age of 12 which people in the holistic world chalk up to bad genetics.

    I have another dog who I rescued from a kill shelter in the south. He was about a year old and the stupid rescue did not even do a simple worm test on him. He came with Hookworms, Roundworms and Tapeworms diagnosed by my vet. Rabies is required by law but they went shot happy and gave him a bunch of combos. i had no choice in the mattere also had kennel cough which I let run it’s course. 11 years later and I am now dealing with hypothyroidism, fatty tumors popping up everywhere and nothing herbal I have tried yet has gotten rid of them, skin allergies, itchy ears and possibly cushings. No vaccines in 10 years and he’s not eligiible for exempt and apparently “Fraud” is becoming more popular with people lying about vaccines out of fear so avoiding the shot is now becoming ore trouble than it’s worth.

  15. J. Says:

    I sent that last one too soon, I just wanted to add that I’m torn between avoiding vets like the plague since even holistic vets will refuse to see a dog who isn’t “Up to date” if you do not agree to letting them vaccinate. It is a legal thing here, they cannot discharge a dog without proof of rabies. Titers are not legal in the tri state area and cancer seems to be the only way to get exempt so far.

    Or do I just give in and get a few rabies rescued dog had one at the age of 1 so is it really so awful if his 2nd shot is at the age of 11 years old? It’s easy to avoid vets when dogs are young and healthy but then when something comes up it’s harder. Losing a 12 year old I did almost everything perfect with is really messing with my head. And I don’t feel like going to jail for fraud. Some counties now have rabies vaccines public record and you can punch the tag numbers into websites to confirm if it is valid.

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  18. Luke Yancey Says:

    I was completely unaware that if a dog is even a little sick a vaccination could do them more harm than good! After reading your points, I agree with your main argument that one should not get their pet vaccinated while they are sick. However, I do agree that all pets should get vaccinated if they are healthy.

  19. Jan Says:

    Luke, there are many circumstances dictating when dogs should (or should not) be vaccinated. For example, adult dogs don’t need puppy shots throughout their lives. See what experts have to say:

    Thanks for visiting truth4dogs.

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