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

  1. Jan Says:

    Trisha, first make sure cats are legally compelled to get rabies shots in your area. Second, try for an exemption which your vet should fight for.

    Find another vet. To offer you a shot with the side effect of cancer is crazy. My cat expert says you want the Merial Purevax recombinant shot if you have to vaccinate, but no shot at all is better. Vaccinating a sick animal is like throwing gasoline on a fire. I’m no expert on cat shots, but see and for more information. And why vaccinate an indoor pet unless the law requires it.

    If you have to get the shot, get it in the leg, not the body. Call Merial, the manufacturer, and ask if you should vaccinate a cat diagnosed with FHV. The answer will likely be no.

  2. Jan Says:

    Here’s some more info on vaccinating cats. It’s from my page.

    Dr. Jean Hofve, DVM and former Editor-in-Chief of The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association Journal, writes: “Ideally, for cats the Merial Purevax recombinant vaccine can be used in place of the older killed vaccines that can cause injection-site tumors.” She adds: “When vaccines were given between the shoulder blades, these cancers were inoperable because they would grow into the spine, ribcage, and chest. This became such a serious problem that now it is recommended to give the rabies vaccine in the right hind leg so that when a tumor does develop, the whole leg can be amputated and thus the cat’s life can be saved.”

    Here’s an article in a vet magazine that cat lovers need to read:

  3. Robert Says:

    Our beloved 12-year-old miniature Schnauzer, Maddie, died on 3/24/2010 from cardiac arrest after major surgery to remove a very rare, large and aggressive pheochromocytoma tumor, which had originated in her adrenal glands, but spread to invade her aorta, vena cava, and kidneys.

    She had also been getting mysterious skin pustules on her top side, mainly around her front shoulders and neck area. These pustules would fill up with pus until the pus popped out of them, but sometimes would not pop at all, and would remain under her skin as small, hard lumps. She was also getting large, benign fatty tumors on her underside chest and groin areas which were removed surgically several times, but always grew back.

    She did not have any of these problems when we got her in 1998. These problems started around 2005 or 2006. Looking over our vet receipts for her, which unfortunately only go back to 2005, I was shocked to discover that she was vaccinated with 6 vaccines per year (5 vaccines in a “DA2PPCV” Distemper-Hepatitis-ParvoVirus-Parainfluenza-CoronaVirus “combo-whombo” shot, and 1 separate rabies shot), for 5 years (2005-2009)! That is 30 vaccines over a 5-year period!!!

    I called the vet’s office today to ask for Maddie’s complete medical history, and mentioned a blood test to see if all these vaccines were necessary, and the girl at the front desk said, “Oh, you mean the Titer?” So, they KNEW about the Titer blood test, but they never once mentioned it to me, and didn’t even tell me that Maddie was getting 6 vaccines every year. I wrongly assumed that they knew what they were doing, and that any vaccines given to Maddie were for her own good.

    Now I’m grieving her and missing her terribly. I’m also kicking myself daily for not being more aware and informed about what these damned vets were doing to her. Maddie’s fatty tumors started appearing around 7/28/2006, which was 7 months after her 6-per-year vaccinations began (according to my receipts) on 9/27/2005, but she probably received many more than 30 vaccines, because our receipts only go back to 2005, although we got her in 1998. So, she may have received 50-60 vaccines over the course of her 12 years of life!!! What makes this really hard is that she was such a healthy dog otherwise – happy, energetic, full of life, always wanting to play, and very youthful-looking for her age, right up until the end – most people thought she was still a puppy. She should have lived to be 20 years old, and probably WOULD have, if she had not been poisoned with so many vaccines!

    But now she’s dead, and there’s nothing I can do but mourn her. I’m thinking about suing the vet clinic for malpractice, but don’t know how far I would get with that, or whether it would be worth the cost and aggravation. Also, it won’t bring Maddie back.

  4. Jan Says:

    Robert, I’m so sorry for your loss. When you’re ready, there are some things you can do.

    1) File a complaint with your state vet medical board. You were not given informed consent. You should have been told that all the vet schools and all the vet organizations recommend against yearly vaccinations. Your vet should have informed you of this, and about titer tests, BEFORE vaccinating.

    2) Tell your friends. Tell reporters.

    3.) Read this article about the dangers of giving multiple vaccines to small dogs: I’ll send you the vet journal article it’s based on. Min. Schnauzers are among the top dogs affected. Why didn’t your vet read this article? It’s the main vet journal and was published in 2005.

    4.) Sue if you can handle it and are prepared for a bad result — that is, little money. You will at least cost the vet time and aggravation. Maybe he/she will think twice before over-vaccinating next time.

    5.) File a complaint with your state board of health, Better Business Bureau, and state attorney general — especially if the clinic is a chain.

    6.) If you have any photos showing the vaccine damage, please send them to me. (or it may be contact). I’m doing a video.

    7. Remember the happy times and become educated. Spread the word.

    Help keep these vets from destroying the health of other dogs.

  5. Jan Says:

    Robert, also file a complaint because your vet vaccinated a dog with health problems — against manufacturer’s recommendations.

    Also, call the vaccine manufacturers and report the damage done.

  6. Marcia Ballard Says:

    SCREAM!!!!!! my dog developed skin problems, wheezing, and was put on prednisone and then developed severe infections, gastroenteritis, vomiting, bloody stools, and almost died! Never was it suggested he had a reaction to the rabies vaccine. He had to have IV’s and survived. He has had what appears to be some chronic arthritis since then…he was 1 year old when he developed all these problems. I put him on a wheat free diet (not because the vet saw any correlation with skin issues, but I had). His skin has been greatly improved and only if he eats a noodle or cracker let on the floor will his skin issues reappear. Now he just got his rabies and they combined his other vaccines (he weighs 26 pounds so he is not a big dog) and he is at 36 hours post vaccinations very ill. He can hardly walk, is not eating, is hunchbacked, is very snappy, (totally not like him), and acting like he is in pain. We are on our way to the same vet….what to do????????????? I live in a very small town with very little choice of vets…

  7. Marcia Ballard Says:

    I didn’t know until we researched these problems that any of this could happen or is related to multiple vaccinations or the rabies shot. What treatment now is recommended now that he is in this terrible shape? Help us quickly, please.

  8. Erwin Alber Says:

    Some years ago, a New Zealand cat breeder told me that she and other breeders had lost so much valuable breeding stock as a result of vaccinations that in desperation they took to falsifying their animals’ records to say they had been vaccinated when they had not, to be able to take them to cat shows.

  9. Erwin Alber Says:

    Marie, find a CEASE therapist (google: CEASE Dr Tinus Smits) and get the therapist to counteract the effect of the vaccination with Dr Smits’ homeopathic treatment he’s developed to deal with vaccine reactions. Dr Smits used it with great success on vaccine-injured (including autistic) children, but there is no reason why it shouldn’t work equally well with animals.

    The treatment basically consists of administering the vaccine that caused the problem in homeopathic form, in a range of potencies. This erases the energy imprint left by the vaccine, thereby restoring normal functioning. Any homeopath could probably do this, but a CEASE therapist would IMO be best.

    If you try this, please e-mail me to let me know how successful the treatment was.

  10. Convenience…at what Cost? | love unleashed. Says:

    […] Used with extreme caution and only with dogs that have been evaluated and are deemed in perfect health (it is my opinion that a dog in perfect health will do just fine to fight illness without a vaccine, but it is a fact that vaccines should only be given to healthy dogs.) […]

  11. CatLover Says:

    Our sweet kitty Maisey has cancer she got from a rabies vaccination. She developed a huge tumor on her right hind quarter. It is too large to remove even by removing that leg, so we are forced to just make her comfortable for whatever time we have left with her. She is my cuddle bunny, the sweetest cat you could ever have. Lawyers handle cases for people that have gotten sick from a certain drug, why can’t they help sue for your pet! They are like our childen!

  12. Jan Says:

    Catlover, I’m so sorry for you and Maisey. Why can’t you sue? Because years ago, drug companies threatened Congress, saying they wouldn’t make any more vaccines unless they got freedom from liability. However … if your vet will say the vaccine caused the tumor, you can and should report the tumor to the drug manufacturer. The drug companies need to report reactions to the USDA. Also, they may well pay Maisey’s medical bills. They may want a biopsy and will likely pay for that.

    Take care.

  13. carol Says:

    Hi, i just lost my weimer today of 11 half years. im so sad and frustrated in one sentence. I took my weimer on friday to be vaccinated with bordetella. he was examined and he looked just fine. Next day he stopped eating, began extremely lethargic, and was weezing thru his airways. This went on for three days and he was not getting any better. He became very weak and even started having a hard time climbing the staris. I contacted y regular vet who vaccinated him and explained to them of the symptoms, they then proceeded to tell me that it sounded like a broken back. Are u kidding me!!!! A broken back. I took him to the emergency vet and they told me that it was probable that he had cancer, a mass in his abdomen. He lost five pounds since fridays weigh in. He was so jaundiced. HIs skin was yellow, his gums were yellow. He had a slight fever. I am convinced that that shot comprimised his immune system. I am still angry and wished i had been more informed. LIke everything its all becoming just a cash cow. WE put my sweet boy down today, and he went very peaceful. Much braver than i would ever had been. I didnt wantI to put him thru all the tests and surgeries. I wanted him to live out his life with dignity. and he did just that. With his gray beard and gray tipped floppy ears. And those soft expressions of his gentle eyes. His endearing qualities will be forever in our hearts. WE will miss u

  14. Jan Says:

    Carol, I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds to me like your dog had a vaccine reaction. Bordetella is a very reactive shot. It is also a next to useless shot.

    Make sure your vet (s) recorded all the symptoms in your dog’s files. Please find out exactly what vaccine your dog got and report the reaction to the manufacturer. This is very important. For one thing, you might get reimbursement for your costs. Go to my article What to Do When Your Dog Has a Vaccine Reaction and scroll down to What to Do If You Suspect Your Dog is Having a Vaccine Reaction. Read points 3-6.

    Why your vets didn’t immediately suspect a vaccine reaction is beyond me. Did they attend vet school? When health immediately worsens after vaccination, it’s likely due to the vaccine, not a broken back or a tumor. As I say in my article, when you hear hoof beats, think horses not zebras!

    So cry now, then take action. Help stop this from happening to another dog.

  15. Susan Morgan / Glenda Albritton - Page 9 - Forums - Yorkshire Terrier Community Says:

    […] like to know what answer a "good vet" would give so that I know what to do/expect. Vaccinating Sick Dogs and Cats: A Recipe for Bad Reactions | Truth4Dogs __________________ Mirth And Sweet Mischief Are A Yorkie's Stock In […]

  16. Dianna Lynch Says:

    My pug Max at 6 years old had a rabies booster in May of 2008. He started having seizures the end of June 2008. The vet could find nothing wrong with him and called it epilepsy. I have just learned this week through research that the vaccine could have contributed to him having seizures. He is now due for another rabies which I will not consent to. Hopefully when he goes in a couple of weeks to get his phenobarb level checked my vet will sign a form saying that Max can not be vaccinated. If he doesn’t what can I do so I can register him? I also have a chihuahua due for a rabies booster and am really not wanting him to have it. Any advise would be welcome.

  17. Jan Says:

    Dianna, you didn’t say what state you live it. Whether or not you can get an exemption depends on where you live. It also depends on your vet. Even in states where it’s allowed, some vets won’t do it. If so, find another vet.

    Some vets will recommend giving benedryl and steroids and vaccinating. This is crazy. Stand your grown. If necessary, change the law in your state. Lots of people are doing it. See The Rabies Challenge Fund page Facebook for more info.

    Good luck.

  18. Dianna Lynch Says:

    I live in the state of Maine. Sorry I neglected to put that in. Thank you for your input. I’m hoping for a smooth vet visit in late April.

  19. casandra Says:

    First off, I wanted to say reading dozens of these posts breaks my heart. Currently, I am awake at 3 am keeping a close eye on my mixed breed, medium sized dog. On April 3, 2011 we had the dog for 12 years. Also, on that same day, we took him to our vet that we have been going to since we got him for his rabies vaccine. The vet asked us how he was doing, and we (my sister and I) had informed her that he had a very dry cough, as if trying to cough something up, and his eyes we’re bloodshot. Just by going off of what I said and shining the light into his eyes, she diagnosed him with conjunctivitis due to allergies, and the cough was due to allergies too. Strange for a 12 year old dog to suddenly have allergies when nothing in his environment changed.

    She administered his rabies vaccine, trimmed his nails, and sent us on our way. The next day, monday, my dog could not walk. I called the vet, “its normal.” The next day, it was the same so I called again. I was told its a common reaction, we can give him bayer buffered asprin 325mg for the pain. He took 1 asprin in the morning, another in the evening, then refused it. After 4 days my dog was back to his normal happy, loving, active, playful self. This past Tuesday,April 19th, my dog woke up with a very swollen joint. To be exact, it was his right front paw, but the joint which would I guess be his ankle? He seemed to have trouble walking on his both hind legs and the front paw. I called the vet immediately, explained what was going on, asked if they had anything open for him to be seen as an emergency, they said “you can bring him in at 5pm.”

    I called the vet at 10am. I went to work for 3 hours, kept calling the vet, and the earliest I can get is a double booking for 430pm. I brought my dog in at 415, they saw him when we got there. They thought it was lymes, they ran a blood test it came back negative. I asked them what we were treating this as (as before it was allergies) they said they’re treating it as “an infection somewhere that’s making him swell for some reason.” Infection because this time they decided to check his temperature and it was 104.5. They put him on doxycycline and deramaxx.

    My dog has had constant trouble with stairs and walking since his rabies, and even since his appointment on the 19th has even suddenly collapsed. Saturday, the 23rd, I tried slowly walking him to the patio in an attempt to get him inside. He collapsed, could not get up, and would not move. I thankfully called a new vet for a second opinion, they saw him immediately. This new vet, never seeing him before, could tell immediately something was terribly wrong. I told her this exact story I’m telling you and she was horrified. I told her he had lymes tests run and they returned negative, which is what she wanted to do. She then decided to run a full blood count and see his chemistry.

    Turns out, my dog has walking pneumonia. He had onset pneumonia when I told the original vet that he had the cough. It was not allergies. Although my dog has been drinking, he was also very dehydrated. He is on prescription food which he loves, and we’re returning wednesday for a follow up to see how he’s responding to his antibiotic. If I never took him for a second opinion, my dog could have died because our soon to be ex-vet never checked a temperature or anything, just his eyes, and she vaccinated him. I’m asking your advice on what I can do. I currently did research, and am calling tomorrow to tell them that I want to pick up his medical file. I looked on the amva website for my states laws regarding the release of files and there is no reason for them not to give them to me. But I would like to know what else I can do to let them know the possible fatality they caused by vaccinating him.

  20. Jan Says:

    Casandra, I wish I could tell you that your story is unusual. Your first vet clearly should never have vaccinated a dog with a cough. Even drug companies say not to vaccinate an unhealthy animal. And especially without a thorough exam.

    Please read And please report that vet. The article will tell you what you need to know. If not, please write again.

    I wish you the best of luck.

  21. Debbie Says:

    Wow, I can’t beleive what I am reading. You see I just went through all of this with my Pug, who was my bestfriend. His name was Norman. He was fine Saturday morning, We took him and our other dog to the vets for their shots. Our other dogs name is Jinxy. He is an English Cocker Spainel. Jinxy is in great shape, but Norman was a rescue dog so we didn’t know everything about his background. But we did know that he was partallly paralized from about mid to lower back. He did have feeling in his hind legs but he dragged them. We tried putting him in a wheelchair, But poor Norman kept ending up with one wheel on the wall and one on the floor! He only had one eye too so I don’t know if that had anything to do with it or not. But he was loved so very much by both my husband and myself.

    You see, I have MS and I can’t do to much anymore and Norman was very happy just to be wheerever I was. Anyways, We took both the dogs up to the vets to get their shots. I told the vet that I thought Norman was urinating more then normal, (I had to help him both pee and poop) because he could not go to the bathroom by himself. So She took a urine sample. Both dogs got their rabies shots and everything seemed fine. They gave me a precription for some antibiotics for Norman and said if he starts throwing up, give him some yogart. well, I gave Norman his medicine and sure enough a few hours later he started throwing up and I don’t mean just a little bit. It was a lot. But I trusted my vet and I put him on our bed where he always sleeps (right next to me) and the next morning our bed was covered in vomit. I tried his medicine one more time and he threw up like a volcano.

    I called my vet and told her the yogart thing wasn’t working and what should I do? They decided to change his medicine, but it was to late, by that night he was no longer eating anything. Not even his favorite dog biscut. I decided to call the vet the very next morning and bring him to her to see what could be done. Well, when I woke up, Norman was in a grand mal seizure, he wa so stiff I thought he was dead until I heard him do a little snort. I immedeitly called my vet and she told me not to take him there that he needed to see a neuroligist that was is an hour or two away, I knew I didn’t have that much time. She finally said you can take him to another hospital that had an emergency room but she had dealt with dogs that had seizures before and she refused to help Norman, Her patient!

    She said she had appointments coming in about every twenty minutes. So I hung up and called my husband who came home from work immediately. We took Norman to the other animal hospital where they tried very hard to save his life, but it was to late. He had another grand mal seizure and you could tell the life in him was gone. So I asked the vet what should we do and she said if it was her dog she would mercifly put him to sleep. I cried and cried, but I knew I had to let my bestfriend go. They brought him in for a last visit with my husband and I. I held him as they put him to sleep. I knew when he was gone because he had stopped snorting. But the vet had to check his heart anyways. We brought our baby boy home and daddy made him a beautiful wooden casket, handles and all. and I completly finished the inside with blue and silver silk cloth. He had a mattress, blanket and pillow, plus a few of his favorite cookies (dog bones and becon strips. We love you Norman, Daddy and I are looking into what the vet did to you. You did not die in vane. bye bye my baby.

  22. Jan Says:

    Debbie, your story breaks my heart. When you’re up to it, please read and report your vet. If your dog needed antibiotics, your dog wasn’t healthy. And vaccine manufacturers stress that only healthy pets should be vaccinated.

    If hope your only giving your other dog a rabies shot, which is required by law. Most adult dogs don’t require other shots unless there’s a local epidemic and reason to believe your dog isn’t protected. Please read Think titer testing, not vaccination.

    I wish you healing and happiness.

  23. Gina Says:

    My heart is broken. I’m afraid I’m to blame. I don’t know why my active & alert & seemingly healthy 10 year old rottie just died. He was in very good health other than his back legs sometimes shook a little, which I thought was due to his age. He had his last rabies shot about 5 years ago. On 4/16/11 I took him to the vet where they had a parvo, distemper rabies shot clinic being held. They took his temp & weighed him. The vet said he probably should get neutered because his testicles felt like they had some fluid around them & that could be a sign of prostrate problems After the shots (20 days ago, given in the neck) he seemed fine. Until the evening of 4/29, when I noticed he was having more of problem than usual with his back legs while going up the 4 steps to the door. Around 1:30 Am on 4/30 he jumped down off the bed, & nearly fell because of his back legs. They looked limp and wiggly when he walked. I thought he went to get a drink. A few minutes later I smelled poop,(something he NEVER does in the house) I got up and found him sitting with his head hanging down, he looked terrible. I was scared and decided we’d make the hour long trip into town to the vet first thing in the morning. I didn’t realize that it was already too late. He tried to lay down and kind of fell over because of his hind legs. I got him a thin pillow for his head and covered with a blanket. It was chilly on the floor. As I was trying to comfort him, I noticed he was breathing very deep and heavily, & some what fast. 30-45 min. passed and his breathing hadn’t returned to normal. I knew something was very wrong. His eyes didn’t look right at all, and he wasn’t responding to me talking to him. I left the room for about 5 minutes. I when I returned he was kind of half sitting up. I tried to help him lay down, he just fell in my arms. A few minutes later he turned & tried to look at his hind quarters or stomach. He made a small whimper sound and laid his head back down. His breathing changed from deep & rapid to very shallow and slow. And then he was gone. Only 5 or 6 hours ago he seemed fine. I can’t believe this has happened. I love him no less than I do my own children he was my baby. Could this be because of the shots he received 21 days ago? I feel so responsible, just a few hours ago he was active and playful and giving me kisses. I’ll miss him forever.
    I’m so sorry Zippy, I love you..I love you..I love you.

  24. Jan Says:

    Gina, don’t blame yourself, blame your vet for giving a 10 yr old dog PUPPY shots. If he/she was really concerned about parvo or distemper, why not do a noninvasive titer test? I find that outragious. And why give all the shots on the same day.

    Did your vet tell you your dog had a 95% chance that he was immune to parvo and distemper? Or offer a titer test? If not, he/she is guilty of not getting informed consent. Go after your vet. Keep this from happening again. Here’s some info.

    Most people do nothing. I hope you’ll take action. It won’t bring back the dog you loved, but may help others avoid your pain.

  25. Gina Says:

    Jan, Thank you or your kind words & advice. No, the vet said nothing more than what I previously posted. I was unaware until now that the parvo & distemper didn’t need to be given yearly. I also didn’t know about not giving the shots all at once. If the vets are aware of these facts, & surely they must be, why in world do they offer these “3 in 1” (parvo/Distemper/Rabies) shot clinics to the public! I wasn’t informed by him of any possible dangers or even given a hint that the shots had even the remotest possibility of doing any harm what so ever. I want to do every thing within my power to help insure no pet or pet owner ever has to experience this. I want to approach this the right way with him. Do you or any one else have any suggestions of the questions I need to ask him. Should I tell him up front what happened? I will go to the site you kindly left the link to, maybe these questions will be answered there. Thank you again, Take Care Gina

  26. Vaccines: friend or foe? | Salon Fido Says:

    […] Vaccinating unhealthy pets: Beware reactions & vaccine failure […]

  27. James Ellenberg Says:

    My 13 week old miniature Dachshund starting having seizures within 10 hours of getting his booster and rabies shots, he is 4 lbs. He had 4 that I know of in the first 48 hours which included him going to the bathroom on himself and foaming at the mouth each lasting 5-7 minutes. When I took him back to see the vet he wouldn’t admit that it was a bad reaction to the shots but equated it to epilepsy. We had the dog for 3 weeks with no signs of epilepsy but within 48 hours of the shot he suddenly developed it?? I think not! After 2 more days he got small bumps under his skin about half the size of a pea maybe 20 or so of them. Maybe a side affect of the epilepsy?? Because it couldn’t be the powerful rabies vaccine that is the same size shot for a 140lb. dog as it is for my 4lb. 13 week old. Of course if it was admitted that these issues were caused from the vaccines then we wouldn’t go back and pay him year after year would we?

    My real question that I want answered is if the seizures will stop after some time passes or is this a permanent side affect?

  28. Jan Says:

    James, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a dog …. Your vet should have looked at the most likely cause of the seizures, but clearly didn’t want the responsibility. Dump him!

    Please read my post What to Do When Your Dog Has a Vaccine Reaction There’s lots of information there that you’ll need.

    Also, because you have a Dachshund, please read Vaccinating Small Dogs: Risks Vets Aren’t Revealing. Also, Vaccinating Dogs: 10 Steps to Eliminating Unnecessary Shots.

    I know this is a lot to read, but all these articles are important. Please read the first article now and the others when you have a chance.

  29. Kristine Says:


    My vet recommended that my cat receive a rabies vaccine in May; she did not warn me at all about possible side effects or negative consequences. My cat reacted badly (he was extremely lethargic and feverish for a day). In June I noticed he was losing weight, and in July I saw that his coat had lost its luster. I have taken him to another vet five times since then; he’s now on antibiotics but is barely eating and has continued to lose weight. His back legs are also very weak.

    I just found out yesterday that is says in my cat’s file that he had a fever the day he received the shot. Does this sound like it might be a reaction to that rabies shot three months ago?

    I am in Canada so my recourse will likely be different than in the U.S.

    Thank you,

  30. Jan Says:

    Hi Kristine. Yes, it’s possible that it’s a reaction to the vaccine. Get all the details of the shot and call the manufacturer to report it.

    I know a lot more about dogs than I do cats. I suggest you read my article on what to do when a dog has an adverse reaction. Especially read about finding a holistic vet. Traditional vets are really educated in what to do about long-term vaccine reactions. Also check out They might have some helpful hints.

    Wish I could help more.

  31. Is Your Dog’s Vet a Vaccination Expert? | Dogs Naturally Magazine Says:

    […] Vaccinated your dog when the dog was ill, had allergies, infections or skin problems or was stressed. (See Vaccinating Unhealthy Pets: Beware Reactions & Vaccine Failure.) […]

  32. Stacy Greer Says:

    This is why I don’t vaccinate at all. If they harm your dogs when they are ill why are they safe at any other time? They aren’t! Ugh!

  33. Jan Says:

    Stacy, dogs with health problems may suffer from immune system malfunction. Vaccination success requires a healthy immune system.

  34. Gail Says:

    My dog was checked by my vet and given a healthy rating. They gave him a 3 year rabies booster and 6 days later started having seizures. He is having them every other day for the past 3 months. My vet is telling me it is not related. What I want to know is who regulates the manufacturer of the vaccines. Does the FDA check the vaccines ??

  35. Jan Says:

    Gail, this is most likely a reaction to the vaccine. Please read my article on why vets don’t recognize vaccine reactions at

    Also, read What to Do When Your Dog Has a Vaccine Reaction at Scroll past the opening. And get yourself to a vet who is trained in homeopathy. You’ll find links in the article.

    You must report the problem to the vaccine manufacturer, who will in turn report it to the USDA. This is vital. You’ll find instructions in the article in the paragraph above.

    Good luck.

  36. TPLO surgery - anyone else been through it? - Beagle Forum : Our Beagle World Forums Says:

    […] vaccines is showing to cause allergies, auto immune issues, and many other diseases in our dogs. Vaccinating Sick Dogs and Cats: A Recipe for Bad Reactions | Truth4Dogs Vaccine Notes From Catherine O’Driscoll | Dogs Naturally Magazine Alternatives to Canine […]

  37. robyn Says:

    My dog was exposed to a little puppy for 5 days that was very sick, the puppy almost died over the night on the 4th day. The puppy was bought before the Memorial Holiday so the wellness check was scheduled for after the Holiday. When we took the 10 week old puppy to the vet the next day are vet told us the the puppy had severe bronchitis/pneumonia. I was told to take the puppy back to the previous owner. When I took the puppy back I was told that the puppy was also exposed to parvo and wasn’t told until I went to take the puppy back. I was very anger because we have an older dog at home that may contract these illnesses.The question I have is should I get my 11yr old dog(Haylee) her yearly shots on Friday? The vet told me that I should get the yearly shots although we dont know if my older dog is going to come down or has contracted anything from the puppy, because she needs the vaccinations and can benefit from the protection.I was told that we may take up to 2 weeks before we know if Haylee is sick or not. Should I wait the 2 weeks and the get them done? Note: We get Haylee’s shots on post because we are military and she has to have the shots on file, its easier to do this and the cost is lower. Haylee sees the other vet for all other treatments. So, I dont believe money is an issue becasue she doesnt get paid for the service of the shots. We live in Oklahoma/Texas area were dogs contract many infections. Should I wait?????? My gut tells me to wait but Im not a vet. Haylee has had her shots every year since she was a puppy and has never had a reaction nor has she had and illness other than loose bm. every once in awhile when we move around.

  38. Jan Says:

    Robyn, there is no evidence that dogs need yearly shots. They’re not called puppy shots without reason.

    Here is what Dr. Schultz, one of the world’s top reachers, reported:

    Age and Long-term Protective Immunity in Dogs and Cats
    R. D. Schultz, B. Thiel, E. Mukhtar, P. Sharp and L. J. Larson
    Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA

    Old dogs and cats rarely die from vaccine-preventable infectious disease, especially when they have been vaccinated and immunized as young adults (i.e. between 16 weeks and 1 year of age).

    … even a single dose of modified live virus (MLV) canine core vaccines [distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus] or MLV feline core vaccines [feline parvovirus, feline calicivirus and feline herpesvirus], when administered at 16 weeks or older, could provide long-term immunity [9 years or more] in a very high percentage of animals, while also increasing herd immunity.

    Your dog has been vaccinated over and over again. I hope this gives you your answer and some peace.

    PS I’m not a vet. You should make your own decision.

  39. Ann Says:

    Thanks for all the valuable information and stories. I need to really put more study into my Allie’s care.

  40. Janet Velez Says:

    I took my dog to the vet because he got intoxicated with bleach hopping he will do something to help him since he was having troble breathing, he just look at him from far and told me he was going to be ok and i believe him! He was my first pet so i had no experience , he told me he need it a rabies vaccine wich i say ok since he was due righ after the vaccine we went home he had a ruff nigh trouble breathing, i bring him next day to the vet and he again look him from far and realize he was having trouble breathing and send me to the ER hospital 35minutes drive from his office as soon as we arrive he was put on oxigen, i was told he had liquid on his longs and that he might have heart problems that it could got worse with the stress he went through by the expose to the bleach, did’nt have the 1,859.56 for his treatment he was release to me and as soon as i arrive home he pass away in my arms! Could this happened because of the condittion he was and receiving the rabbie shot, the negligence of the vet by not checking him or the inhalation of the bleach, please give me an answer!!! Suffering my pet lost! He was 11 years old a beautiful chihuahua we love so much!

  41. Jan Says:

    Janet, I’m so sorry for your loss.

    Vaccinating a dog with the most negatively reactive vaccine, rabies, while the dog is in distress is, in my opinion, malpractice. You should report the vet’s actions to your state veterinary board and report your dog’s death to the drug manufacturer. Here’s how: Also, get a copy of your dog’s file then ask for your money back for anything you spent at the vaccinating vet’s office.

    You could take your vet to small claims court if he/she refuses. You can generally just sue for the cost of service plus the dog plus any training you paid for, but in some states, you can get more. The important thing is to wake up the vet. And I hope you’ll find another vet when you need one in the future.

    I know you probably won’t feel like doing this, but it’s very important. You have to stop these horrible practices and show the USDA how dangerous the vaccines can be.

  42. Janet Velez Says:

    Thank you for your kind words, i’ll do that! God Bless

  43. deborah Fleming Says:

    I have two old dogs, ages 12 and 13. Both have thyroid disorder, cushings, and arthritis. They are on soloxine for thyroid, tramadol for pain. rimadyl for arthritis, melatonin for cushings and 7-HMRlignans for cushings.I asked my vet for a waiver for the rabies and he said no. How sick does a dog have to be in order to get a waiver. I am really concerned especially with all the medications. They are labradors and will be lucky is they have 3 more years. They are inside dogs and only go in my yard. Do you have any suggestions?

  44. Jan Says:

    Deborah, in states with reasonable laws, your dogs would definitely quality for an exemption. Cushings alone should do it.

    Does your state permit exemptions?

    If not, you need a sympathetic vet who will go to bat for your dogs. Your current vet should. No good vet would allow dogs in poor health to be vaccinated. No drug company would recommend it. Check out for referral lists for vets who know about the dangers of vaccinating sick dogs. You are right to be concerned. Here’s the letter that helped California put a law permitting exemptions on the books. It started with someone like you.

    If you can’t find a sympathetic, well-informed vet, write again.

  45. Andrea Says:


    I just had a titer test done on my dog and it was totally negative meaning she has no immunity to both parvo and distemper. She has a severely compromised immune system already and I will not vaccinate her against rabies. (I have a waiver) I don’t want to vaccinate her against parvo or distemper either but am concerned as we have so much wildlife in our yard. Racoons, coyotes, skunks you name it.
    How can I protect her should she come into contact with with an unhealthy animal ?
    Thanks so much,

  46. Jan Says:

    Andrea, four things. First, the titer test reading may be wrong. You might ask Dr. Jean Dodds to read the test for you. She will likely require a small fee. Or, better yet, draw more blood and send it to her. She charges about $50 for the test. You can ask her about the results. She’s an expert.

    Second, though titer test results are generally accepted to show strong immunity, there is much controversy over whether a low reading shows no immunity. Note: parvo is everywhere. If your dog had no immunity, why didn’t she get sick? Also, cellular immunity may exist even though titers are low. There is another test that can check cellular immunity. Your vet may know about it.

    Three, has ever dog ever had a positive titer for the two diseases? If so, Dr. Ron Schultz, the premier expert, says once immune, always immune.

    Four, if your dog shouldn’t be vaccinated, don’t vaccinate her. The wildlife in your life could give her rabies, if she’s bitten and they’re rabid, but shouldn’t give her parvo or distemper. Ask your vet about this. Also, most wildlife is nocturnal. Keep her inside.

    I’m not a vet but if it were my dog, I’d just presume she’s okay if she’s an adult dog who received at least one parvo/distemper shot after age 15-16 weeks. She’d have a 95% chance of being immune. If she was vaccinated after that date and is not immune, and is an adult, she likely would have fallen ill. If she didn’t get immunity then, it’s likely she would get immunity from another vaccine, especially if she’s immune compromised.

    I hope this helps. Redo the test with Dr. Dodds if you can afford it. She will help guide you. And feed her excellent food to make her stronger..

  47. Andrea Says:

    Thank you so much !
    She is 7 years old and was last vaccinated 3-4 years ago. Haven’t had a titer done before so don’t know. There is no rabies in our area that I know of (San Diego County) and they are all inside at night. I am familiar with Dr. Dodds (another Scottie owner) so will probably go that route. Since she has been on Atopica for so long, her immune system is shot, but there was no other alternative. Tried every other approach.Been feeding raw and home cooking since the get go. Giving here a live vaccine scares the heck out of me so will probably just check with both the above mentioned experts.
    Thank you SO much for your speedy answer, we really appretiate it.

  48. Jan Says:

    Andrea, we’re neighbors!

    You can email Dr. Dodds with your results. She’ll likely answer. If not, call. Below is a study abstract that may give you piece of mind. Read more at It shows how long vaccines generally last. Get contact info at

    Minimum Duration of Immunity for Canine Vaccines
    CORE VACCINES (recommended for all dogs)

    Canine Distemper Virus (CDV):

    Rockborn Strain 7 years/15 years challenge/serology

    Onderstepoort Strain 5 years/9 years challenge/serology

    Canine Adenovirus-2 (CAV-2) 7 years/9 years challenge-CAV-1/serology

    Canine Parvovirus-2 (CPV-2) 7 years challenge/serology

  49. Rose Says:

    My dog Ruby had to be put to sleep and it is bothering me so much trying to understand why this happened. This was our family’s first dog, we had her for 7 years from a puppy, a beautiful red long haired dachshund, she was the sweetest little thing, she loved us so much and we adored her. While away on a visit to my parents with my kids for a week, my husband (who was home taking care of her) called me one night and said Ruby had all of a sudden taken ill, just laying there barely able to move, she had thrown up her food and didnt want to eat or drink, it didn’t last long maybe hours but he decided to take her to vet next morning just in case, she walked in on her own seeming better but still not great. The vet prescribed special food and Cerenia and insisted that she have a rabies shot .

    She got better, pretty ok not great for a week and a half then Sunday afternoon same thing, cannot get up and no interest in food or even water. I called the vet and asked if it could be Lyme disease since we live in Mass and pick ticks off her all the time. They were closing soon but she said I could come pick up a prescription minocycline. I gave her the first pill and a Cerenia, she improved slightly and started to drink a little. Next morning she was bad as ever, I took her to emergency at the hospital and immediately they told me she has a large amount of either blood or fluid in her tummy. They tested and it was blood, and said that she was bleeding into her tummy and was almost dead. They said that she most likely had a cancerous tumor that ruptured or rat poison ( I knew it wasn’t rat poison). They said that even if they had me spend a major amount of money ( that I don’t have) on testing, surgery etc. that she would not live longer than 4or 5 months. They said to euthanize immediately and barely allowed me enough time to get my kids and husband to come in to say goodbye. This may be the most painful thing we have ever done toghether, we miss her soooo much.

    Do you think the rabies shot should have been given, or had anything to do with her death, if she did have cancer, did it speed up her death? I find it interesting that the animal hospital never asked about her rabies shot but the first vet insisted, I know she was sicker then but I would not have considered her healthy. I would appreciate any opinions .


  50. Jan Says:

    Rose, rabies shots are supposed to be given to healthy dogs only — according to the manufacturer’s label and all conventional wisdom. Shame on your vet. Was your dog in danger of being bitten by a rabid animal? Did the vet think she was dangerous? Had she been vaccinated previously? Vaccinating a dog with cancer is like pouring gasoline on a fire. Totally irresponsible.

    Cerenia is for motion sickness. Your vet treated the symptom and not the cause.

    Your vet didn’t give your dog a chance for surviving in my opinion. I don’t know if she would have died anyway, but the vet did nothing to diagnose her problem. Only gave Cerenia and an antibiotic — why an antibiotic?

    Is it too late to do a post mortem — a necropsy? They aren’t expensive and can tell you a lot.

    Please report your dog’s death to the manufacturer. And I would file a complaint with your state vet medical board. At the very least, maybe your vet will think twice about being so reckless. And need I add, never go back there again? You could even take the vet to small claims court.

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

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