Treating Adverse Vaccine Reactions by Jean Dodds, DVM

Written by Jan on August 6, 2009 – 12:01 am

Jean Dodds, DVMWorld-renowned pet vaccination expert Dr. Jean Dodds has written a wonderful article on managing and treating adverse reactions to vaccination (published here with her permission).  She also clears up common misconceptions about vaccination, titer testing and vaccinating against rabies.

This is an important article. I hope you’ll read it and bookmark or print it for future reference and also send it to your veterinarian and to friends.


by W. Jean Dodds, DVM

There is no doubt that application of modern vaccine technology has permitted us to protect companion animals effectively against serious infectious diseases.

Viral disease and recent vaccination with single or combination modified live-virus (MLV) vaccines, especially those containing distemper virus, adenovirus 1 or 2, and parvovirus are increasingly recognized contributors, albeit relatively rare,  to immune-mediated blood disease, bone marrow failure, and organ dysfunction.  Potent adjuvanted killed vaccines like those for rabies virus also can trigger immediate and delayed (vaccinosis) adverse vaccine reactions. Genetic predisposition to these disorders in humans has been linked to the leucocyte antigen D-related gene locus of the major histocompatibility complex, and is likely to have parallel associations in domestic animals.

It must be recognized, however, that we have the luxury of asking such questions today only because the risk of disease has been effectively reduced by the widespread use of vaccination programs.

Adverse Events Associated with Vaccination
The clinical signs associated with vaccine reactions typically include fever, stiffness, sore joints and abdominal tenderness, susceptibility to infections, neurological disorders and encephalitis, collapse with autoagglutinated red blood cells and icterus (autoimmune hemolytic anemia, AIHA, also called immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, IMHA), or generalized petechiae and ecchymotic  hemorrhages (immune-mediated thrombocytopenia , ITP).  Hepatic enzymes may be markedly elevated, and liver or kidney failure may occur by itself or accompany bone marrow suppression.

Furthermore, MLV vaccination has been associated with the development of transient seizures in puppies and adult dogs of breeds or cross-breeds susceptible to immune-mediated diseases especially those involving hematologic or endocrine tissues (e.g. AIHA, ITP, autoimmune thyroiditis). Post-vaccinal polyneuropathy is a recognized entity associated occasionally with the use of distemper, parvovirus, rabies and presumably other vaccines.   This can result in various clinical signs including muscular atrophy, inhibition or interruption of neuronal control of tissue and organ function, muscular excitation, incoordination and weakness, as well as seizures.

Certain breeds or families of dogs appear to be more susceptible to adverse vaccine reactions, particularly post-vaccinal seizures, high fevers, and painful episodes of hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD).   Therefore, we have the responsibility to advise companion animal breeders and caregivers of the potential for genetically susceptible littermates and relatives to be at increased risk for similar adverse vaccine reactions.  In popular (or rare) inbred and linebred animals, the breed in general can be at increased risk as illustrated in the examples below.

Polyvalent MLV vaccines which multiply in the host elicit a stronger antigenic challenge to the animal and should mount a more effective and sustained immune response.  However, this can overwhelm the immunocompromised or even a healthy host that has ongoing exposure to other environmental stimuli as well as a genetic predisposition that promotes adverse response to viral challenge.  The recently weaned young puppy or kitten being placed in a new environment may be at particular risk.  Furthermore, while the frequency of vaccinations is usually spaced 2-3 weeks apart, some veterinarians have advocated vaccination once a week in stressful situations; a practice makes little sense scientifically or medically.

An augmented immune response to vaccination is seen in dogs with pre-existing inhalant allergies (atopy) to pollens.  Furthermore, the increasing current problems with allergic and immunological diseases have been linked to the introduction of MLV vaccines more than 20 years ago.  While other environmental factors no doubt have a contributing role, the introduction of these vaccine antigens and their environmental shedding may provide the final insult that exceeds the immunological tolerance threshold of some individuals in the pet population.  The accumulated evidence indicates that vaccination protocols should no longer be considered as a “one size fits all” program.

In cats, while adverse vaccine reactions may be less common, aggressive tumors (fibrosarcomas) can occasionally arise at the site of vaccination. A recent study from Italy reported finding similar tumors in dogs at the injection sites of vaccinations (Vascellari et al, 2003). These investigators stated that their “study identified distinct similarities between canine fibrosarcomas from presumed injection sites and feline post-vaccinal fibrosarcomas, suggesting the possibility of the development of post-injection sarcomas not only in cats, but also in dogs”.

Additionally, vaccination of pet and research dogs with polyvalent vaccines containing rabies virus or rabies vaccine alone was shown to induce production of antithyroglobulin autoantibodies, a provocative and important finding with implications for the subsequent development of hypothyroidism (Scott-Moncrieff et al, 2002).

For these special cases, appropriate alternatives to current vaccine practices include:
1) measuring serum antibody titers;
2) avoidance of unnecessary vaccines or over vaccinating;
3) caution in vaccinating sick or febrile individuals; and
4) tailoring a specific minimal vaccination protocol for dogs of breeds or families known to be at increased risk for adverse reactions.
5) considerations include starting the vaccination series later, such as at nine or ten weeks of age when the immune system is more able to handle antigenic challenge;
6) alerting the caregiver to pay particular attention to the puppy’s behavior and overall health after the second or subsequent boosters; and
7) avoiding revaccination of individuals already experiencing a significant adverse event. Littermates of affected puppies should be closely monitored after receiving additional vaccines in a puppy series, as they too are at higher risk.

Serologic Vaccine Titer Testing
Some veterinarians have challenged the validity of using vaccine titer testing to assess the immunologic status of animals against the common, clinically important infectious diseases.

With all due respect, this represents a misunderstanding of what has been called the “fallacy of titer testing”, because research has shown that once an animal’s titer stabilizes it is likely to remain constant for many years.  Properly immunized animals have sterilizing immunity that not only prevents clinical disease but also prevents infection, and only the presence of antibody can prevent infection. As stated by eminent expert Dr. Ronald Schultz in discussing the value of vaccine titer testing, these tests “show that an animal with a positive test has sterilizing immunity and should be protected from infection.  If that animal were vaccinated it would not respond with a significant increase in antibody titer, but may develop a hypersensitivity to vaccine components (e.g. fetal bovine serum). Furthermore, the animal doesn’t need to be revaccinated and should not be revaccinated since the vaccine could cause an adverse reaction (hypersensitivity disorder). You should avoid vaccinating animals that are already protected.  It is often said that the antibody level detected is “only a snapshot in time”. That’s simply not true; it is more a “motion picture that plays for years”.

Furthermore, protection as indicated by a positive titer result is not likely to suddenly drop-off unless an animal develops a medical problem such as cancer or receives high or prolonged doses of immunosuppressive drugs.  Viral vaccines prompt an immune response that lasts much longer than that elicited by classic antigen.  Lack of distinction between the two kinds of responses may be why practitioners think titers can suddenly disappear.

But, not all vaccines produce sterilizing immunity. Those that do include: distemper virus, adenovirus, and parvovirus in the dog, and panleukopenia virus in the cat.  Examples of vaccines that produced non-sterile immunity would be leptospirosis, bordetella, rabies virus, herpesvirus and calicivirus — the latter two being upper respiratory viruses of cats.  While non-sterile immunity may not protect the animal from infection, it should keep the infection from progressing to severe clinical disease.

Therefore, interpreting titers correctly depends upon the disease in question. Some titers must reach a certain level to indicate immunity, but with other agents like those that produce sterile immunity, the presence of any measurable antibody shows protection.  The positive titer test result is fairly straightforward, but a negative titer test result is more difficult to interpret, because a negative titer is not the same thing as a zero titer and it doesn’t necessarily mean that animal is unprotected.  A negative result usually means the titer has failed to reach the threshold of providing sterile immunity. This is an important distinction, because for the clinically important distemper and parvovirus diseases of dogs, and panleukopenia of cats, a negative or zero antibody titer indicates that the animal is not protected against canine parvovirus and may not be protected against canine distemper virus or feline panleukopenia virus.

Finally, what does more than a decade of experience with vaccine titer testing reveal ?  Published studies in refereed journals show that 90-98% of dogs and cats that have been properly vaccinated develop good measurable antibody titers to the infectious agent measured. So, in contrast to the concerns of some practitioners, using vaccine titer testing as a means to assess vaccine-induced protection  will likely result in the animal avoiding needless and unwise booster vaccinations.

Our recent study (Twark and Dodds, 2000), evaluated 1441 dogs for CPV antibody titer and 1379 dogs for CDV antibody titer. Of these, 95.1 % were judged to have adequate CPV titers, and nearly all (97.6 %) had adequate CDV titers. Vaccine histories were available for 444 dogs (CPV) and 433 dogs (CDV). Only 43 dogs had been vaccinated within the previous year, with the majority of dogs (268 or 60%) having received a booster vaccination 1-2 years beforehand. On the basis of our data, we concluded that annual revaccination is unnecessary. Similar findings and conclusions have been published recently for dogs in New Zealand (Kyle et al, 2002), and cats (Scott and Geissinger, 1999; Lappin et al, 2002).  Comprehensive studies of the duration of serologic response to five viral vaccine antigens in dogs and three viral vaccine antigens in cats were recently published by researchers at Pfizer Animal Health (Mouzin et al, 2004).

When an adequate immune memory has already been established, there is little reason to introduce unnecessary antigen, adjuvant, and preservatives by administering booster vaccines.  By titering triennially or more often, if needed, one can assess whether a given animal’s humoral immune response has fallen below levels of adequate immune memory. In that event, an appropriate vaccine booster can be administered.

Other Issues with Over Vaccination
Other issues arise from over vaccination, as the increased cost in time and dollars spent needs to be considered, despite the well-intentioned solicitation of clients to encourage annual booster vaccinations so that pets also can receive a wellness examination.  Giving annual boosters when they are not necessary has the client paying for a service which is likely to be of little benefit to the pet’s existing level of protection against these infectious diseases.  It also increases the risk of adverse reactions from the repeated exposure to foreign substances.

Compliance or Resistence to Current Vaccine Guidelines?
For more than a decade, the issues discussed above on overvaccination and vaccine safety for companion animals have been raised by vaccinologists and veterinary clinicians.  But, how has this still controversial knowledge impacted the veterinary profession and pet owner today? Have veterinarians really embraced the national policies on vaccination guidelines?  Does the public trust veterinarians to be up-to-date on these issues or are they unsure? Do they believe veterinarians have a conflict of interest if they seek the income from annual booster vaccinations? Given media information regarding autism and measles vaccination, the public is more aware and worried about vaccine safety.

Some veterinarians today still tell their clients there is no scientific evidence linking vaccinations with adverse effects and serious illness. This is ignorance, and confuses an impressionable client. On the other hand, vaccine zealots abound with hysteria and misinformation. None of these polarized views is helpful.

Veterinarians are still routinely vaccinating ill dogs and those with chronic diseases or prior adverse vaccine reactions. This is especially problematic for rabies boosters, as many colleagues believe they have no legal alternative, even though the product label states it’s intended for healthy animals.   See the Rabies Challenge Fund.

New Breakthroughs
Failure to standardize the legal mandate for rabies vaccinations nationwide is medically and scientifically unwarranted. The fact that individual states, counties and cities elect to mandate annual rabies boosters despite federally licensed three-year rabies vaccines is misguided.

Now that Arkansas and Alabama have adopted a 3-year rabies vaccination protocol for dogs and cats, there are no more states requiring pets to be vaccinated annually against rabies. However, some individual cities and counties still require annual rabies booster vaccination.  For Cheyenne, WY and Wichita, KS, pressure from the public and the local veterinary associations effected a recent change to every three years.

Despite these recent changes, the practice of rabies booster vaccination in these states and local areas has been left as optional at the discretion of the client’s veterinarian. So this is a Catch-22 situation, because if the veterinarian still believes the rabies booster should be given annually instead of as licensed, they usually can talk their client into doing so.

Rabies Vaccines and the USDA/CVB
Rabies vaccines are the most common group of biological products identified in adverse event reports received by the USDA’s Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB).  Currently, 14 rabies vaccines are labeled for use in dogs. These vaccines must meet the standard requirements established in the Title 9 Code of Federal Regulations. This requires that the vaccine provide a protected fraction of ≥ 83% when comparing vaccinated animals versus control animals. Also, all rabies vaccines are evaluated for safety prior to licensure, which includes performance of a field safety trial. Additionally, each serial of rabies vaccine is tested for potency by use of the National Institutes of Health potency test or another test approved by the CVB, and is tested for safety in the host and laboratory animals.

Safety Review
Before licensure, a product must be shown to be safe through a combination of safety evaluations. The field safety trial is the most comprehensive evaluation and has the objective of assessing the safety of the product in its target population under the conditions of its intended use. However, safety studies before licensure may not detect all safety concerns for a number of reasons, as follows: insufficient number of animals for low frequency events, insufficient duration of observation, sensitivities of subpopulations (eg, breed, reproductive status, and unintended species), or interactions with concomitantly administered products.

State and Local Authority for Rabies Control Programs
Although the CVB licenses veterinary biological products for use in the prevention of rabies, it is the state and local authorities govern and administer their respective rabies animal control programs. Some of these programs allow exemptions to the vaccination requirements, if medical concerns exist related to potential adverse events, but more commonly, others do not allow exemptions, regardless of the justification.

Reporting Adverse Vaccine Reaction to Manufacturer and the Government
There is no mandatory reporting of adverse reactions in veterinary medicine.  The 2007 World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Vaccine Guidelines states that there is:  “gross under-reporting of vaccine-associated adverse events which impedes knowledge of the ongoing safety of these products.” WSAVA 2007 Vaccine Guidelines.

Even in humans, where mandatory reporting of adverse vaccine reactions is required, Dr. David Kessler, former head of the Food & Drug Administration, reported that “only about 1% of serious events are reported to the FDA”.  [JAMA .269:.2785, 1993]. This problem of under-reporting has persisted for many years.

Despite the serious under-reporting of vaccinal adverse reactions, the 2008 Report from the USDA’s CVB [JAVMA 232:1000-1002, 2008], states that between April 1, 2004 and March 31, 2007, they “requested manufacturers of rabies vaccines to provide adverse event report summaries for their products.  During this period, nearly 10,000 adverse event reports (all animal species) were received by manufacturers of rabies vaccines.  Approximately 65% of the manufacturer’s reports involved dogs.”

The USDA/CVB 2008 Report further states that “Rabies vaccines are the most common group of biological products identified in adverse event reports received by the CVB.”   During the 3-year period covered in this report, the CVB received 246 adverse event reports for dogs in which a rabies vaccine was identified as one of the products administered. Reports were assessed for causality, and of these, 217 reports were considered possibly related to ≥ 1 of the vaccines given, 7 were considered unlikely, and 22 were assessed as unknown. Of reports with age information (n = 206), 21.4% of the dogs were ≤ 6 months old, 33.5% were > 6 months old but  ≤ 2 years old, and 45.1% were > 2 years old. Of reports with sex information (n = 209), 54.5% of the dogs were female.

The following clinical terms were listed “to describe possibly related adverse events in dogs vaccinated against rabies “ and reported to the USDA/CVB between April 1, 2004-March 31, 2007. For 217 adverse event reports – the clinical term is followed by the % of dogs affected: Vomiting-28.1%; facial swelling-26.3%; injection site swelling or lump-19.4%; lethargy-12%; urticaria-10.1%; circulatory shock-8.3%; injection site pain-7.4%; pruritus-7.4%; injection site alopecia or hair loss-6.9%; death-5.5%; lack of consciousness-5.5; diarrhea-4.6%; hypersensitivity (not specified)-4.6%; fever-4.1%;, anaphylaxis-2.8%; ataxia-2.8%; lameness-2.8%; general signs of pain-2.3%; hyperactivity-2.3%; injection site scab or crust-2.3%;, muscle tremor-2.3%; tachycardia-2.3%; and thrombocytopenia-2.3%.

The overall adverse report rate for rabies vaccines was determined to be 8.3 reports/100,000 doses sold.  Adverse events considered possibly related to vaccination included acute hypersensitivity (59%); local reactions (27%); systemic reactions, which refers to short-term lethargy, fever, general pain, anorexia, or behavioral changes, with or without gastrointestinal disturbances starting within 3 days after vaccination (9%); autoimmune disorders (3%); and other (2%). In nearly 72% of the dogs of these reports, other vaccine or medicinal products were administered in conjunction with the rabies vaccine. In those instances, it was generally not possible to determine which product or products might be most closely linked to the adverse event.  Additionally, in some instances, dogs had > 1 clinical sign, resulting in the coding of several clinical signs in a single report.

But, IF one applied the only 1% estimated reporting figure of “serious” events from the former head of the FDA to the 10,000 adverse events reported for animal rabies vaccines, 65% of which were in dogs, then the actual number of dogs that had adverse reactions to the vaccine could be as high as 650,000 in that 3 year period with 3,575 (5.5%) of the dogs dying from their adverse reaction.

Treatment of Vaccinosis
The diagnosis of vaccinosis is an exclusionary one — i.e. nothing will be found upon other testing to explain the symptoms.  The animal is given the oral homeopathics, Thuja (for all vaccines other than rabies), and Lyssin to detox the rabies “miasm”.  IF there are no holistic veterinarians in the area, these homeopathics can be obtained from

Our therapy typically uses steroids in tapering doses over 4-6 weeks to stop the inflammatory process and clinical symptoms.  Therapy  begins with an injection of dexamethasone phosphate first, and if the animal improves right away, is continued with prednisone  at 0.5 mg per pound twice daily for 5-7 days, then tapered gradually over the next month to every other day. The use of steroids will cause an increase in water intake and urination, but the animal should be able to handle the drug at these tapering doses for a few weeks.  IF a holistic veterinarian wants to try an alternative therapy to steroids, this approach can also work.  Try it for several days to see if it will work.

We advise that these patients receive no further vaccine boosters, except for rabies, where exemption can be sought on a case-by-case basis but may not be granted in the specific locale.

W. Jean Dodds, DVM
11561 Salinaz Avenue
Garden Grove, CA 92843
tel #: 714-891-2022
fax #: 714-891-2123

Note from Jan Rasmusen:  Dr. Dodds is a Founder of the Rabies Challenge Fund, a nonprofit organization working to increase the period between rabies shots from 3 years to 5, then 7.  (Blood tests show 7 or more years of immunity.) She donates her services. Please support the Fund.  Even a small donation of $5 – $10, less than the cost of a rabies shot, will help fund this important research study. Donate here.


●  Dodds WJ. More bumps on the vaccine road.  Adv Vet Med  41:715-732, 1999.
●  Dodds WJ.  Vaccination protocols for dogs predisposed to vaccine reactions. J Am An Hosp Assoc 38: 1-4, 2001.
●  Hogenesch H, Azcona-Olivera J, Scott-Moncreiff C, et al.  Vaccine-induced autoimmunity in the dog. Adv Vet Med  41: 733-744, 1999.
●  Hustead  DR, Carpenter T, Sawyer DC, et al. Vaccination issues of concern to practitioners. J Am Vet Med Assoc  214: 1000-1002, 1999.
●  Kyle AHM, Squires RA, Davies PR. Serologic status and response to vaccination against canine distemper (CDV) and canine parvovirus (CPV) of dogs vaccinated at different intervals. J Sm An Pract, June 2002.
● Lappin MR, Andrews J, Simpson D, et al. Use of serologic tests to predict resistance to feline herpesvirus 1, feline calicivirus, and feline parvovirus infection in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc 220: 38-42, 2002.
● McGaw DL, Thompson M, Tate, D, et al. Serum distemper virus and parvovirus antibody titers among dogs brought to a veterinary hospital for revaccination. J Am Vet Med Assoc 213: 72-75, 1998.
● Moore  GE, Glickman LT. A perspective on vaccine guidelines and titer tests for dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 224: 200-203. 2004.
● Moore et al, Adverse events diagnosed within three days of vaccine administration in dogs.  J  Am Vet Med Assoc 227:1102–1108, 2005.
●  Mouzin DE, Lorenzen M J, Haworth, et al. Duration of serologic response to five viral antigens in dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 224: 55-60, 2004.
●  Mouzin DE, Lorenzen M J, Haworth, et al. Duration of serologic response to three viral antigens in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc 224: 61-66, 2004.
● Paul MA.Credibility in the face of controversy. Am An Hosp Assoc Trends Magazine XIV(2):19-21,1998.
● Paul MA (chair) et al. Report of the AAHA Canine Vaccine Task Force: 2003 canine vaccine guidelines, recommendations, and supporting literature. AAHA, April 2003, 28 pp.
●  Schultz RD.  Current and future canine and feline vaccination programs.  Vet Med 93:233-254, 1998.
● Schultz RD, Ford RB, Olsen J, Scott F.  Titer testing and vaccination: a new look at traditional practices. Vet Med, 97: 1-13, 2002 (insert).
● Scott FW, Geissinger CM. Long-term immunity in cats vaccinated with an inactivated trivalent vaccine. Am J Vet Res 60: 652-658, 1999.
●  Scott-Moncrieff JC, Azcona-Olivera J, Glickman NW, et al.  Evaluation of antithyroglobulin antibodies after routine vaccination in pet and research dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 221: 515-521, 2002.
● Smith CA.  Are we vaccinating too much?  J Am Vet Med Assoc  207:421-425, 1995.
● Tizard  I, Ni Y.  Use of serologic testing to assess immune status of companion animals. J Am Vet Med Assoc 213: 54-60, 1998.
● Twark L, Dodds WJ. Clinical application of serum parvovirus and distemper virus antibody titers for determining revaccination strategies in healthy dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 217:1021-1024, 2000.
● Vascellari M, Melchiotti E, Bozza MA et al. Fibrosarcomas at presumed sites of injection in dogs: characteristics and comparison with non-vaccination site fibrosarcomas and feline post-vaccinal firosarcomas.  J Vet Med 50 (6): 286-291, 2003.

• retrospective cohort study; 1.25 million dogs vaccinated at 360 veterinary hospitals
• 38 adverse events per 10,000 dogs vaccinated
• inversely related to dog weight
• vaccines prescribed on a 1-dose-fits-all basis, rather than by body weight.
• increased for dogs up to 2 yr of age, then declined
• greater for neutered versus sexually intact dogs
• increased as number of vaccines given together increased
• increased after the 3 rd or 4 th vaccination
• genetic predisposition to adverse events documented
*   from Moore et al, JAVMA 227:1102–1108, 2005

Factors that increase risk of adverse events 3 days after vaccination:

• young adult age
• small-breed size
•  neutering
• multiple vaccines given per visit
These risks should be communicated to clients
*   from Moore et al, JAVMA 227:1102–1108, 2005
• retrospective cohort study; 0.5 million cats vaccinated at 329 veterinary hospitals
• 51.6  adverse events per 10,000 cats vaccinated
• inversely related to cat weight
• increased for cats about 1 yr of age
• greater for neutered versus sexually intact cats
• increased as number of vaccines given together increased
• Lethargy with or without fever was most common sign
*   from Moore et al, JAVMA 231:94-100, 2007

Factors that increase risk of adverse events 30 days after vaccination:
• young adult age
•  neutering
• multiple vaccines given per visit
These risks should be communicated to clients, and the number
of vaccines administered concurrently limited
*  from Moore et al, JAVMA 231:94-100, 2007

Tags: adverse reactions, dog, dogs, Dr. Dodds, Jean Dodds, over-vaccination, rabies, shot, symptoms, titer testing, treating adverse reactions, vaccinating, Vaccination, vaccine
Posted under Rabies Shots, Uncategorized, Vaccination | 67 Comments » Email This Post

67 Comments to “Treating Adverse Vaccine Reactions by Jean Dodds, DVM”

  1. Gabbie Says:

    hello Jan,

    thanks for this post :) this is a very useful information for all animal owners…Cheers to Dr. Jean Dodds as well :)

  2. Barbara A. Albright Says:

    Jan, Excellent blog and article! Jean Dodds is a pioneer in health reform for companion pets! Thumbs up!

    Shared on my blog & Facebook too!

  3. Jan Says:

    Thanks, Barbara. I’m glad you like my I’m writing an article about the dangers of combination shots next.

    Dr. Dodds and Dr. Ron Schultz are coming to San Diego for a benefit seminar on vaccination on March 28. If you or friends live in the area, I hope you’ll come. All funds benefit the Rabies Challenge Fund, Jean and Ron’s project to extend the period between rabies shots to 7 years. If you’ve subscribed to our free newsletter, you’ll get info as it becomes available.

    Thanks so much for helping to spread the word about over-vaccination.

  4. Combo Shots for Dogs: A Dangerous Convenience | Truth4Dogs Says:

    […] pet vaccination expert Dr. Jean Dodds has written about combo shots (she calls them combo whombos) that they: “can overwhelm the […]

  5. How to Avoid Vaccination Reactions in Dogs | Truth4Dogs Says:

    […] Your Dog Unnecessarily Dog Flu Vaccine: Do You Really Need a Shot for the H3N8 Canine Virus? Treating Adverse Vaccine Reactions by Jean Dodds, DVM Tags: bad reactions to shots, cat, dog, dog vaccinations, puppy vaccination schedule, puppy […]

  6. Catherine Johnson Says:

    It’s likely many people are not reporting vaccine reactions due to the fact that reactions aren’t always linked to the source. I’d like to report a directly related Fort Dodge Rabies vaccine reaction in a 21 mo old 6 lb Female Papillon. She has developed allergy symptoms, some behavior changes, and a large area of alopecia (2′ by 3″ and growing, very large for a dog that tiny) at the SQ vaccination site. Symptoms started soon after vaccinating, then worsened , with the alopecia surfacing over a month later. Please pass this on to whoever can utilize these statistics.

  7. Jan Says:

    Hi Catherine. Thanks for your comment on my blog. I’ll pass your email along but hope you’ll do two things: 1) make sure everything is documented in your dog’s file and get a copy of the file. Also, find out which vaccine was used. Did it contain mercury? If not, it would be labeled thimerosol free. 2) titer test your dog 3 or more weeks after vaccinating to test immunity for parvovirus and distermper. Your dog doesn’t need to receive any more shots than are absolutely necessary. 3) read my article on vaccinating small dogs. 4) apply for an exemption when your dog is due again for a rabies shot. 5) see a homeopathic vet to treat your dog’s vaccinosis.

    One more thing: report the incident to Fort Dodge. Get the vaccine batch # and name and as many details as possible. Next to treating the vaccinosis, this is the most important thing.

    I wish you the best of luck.

  8. Jan Says:

    Do you have a Pug? Are you worried about possible vaccine reactions? Check out this study. Dr. Jean Dodds has volunteered her Hemopet facility as a repository for blood samples that will be used in a DNA study to discover any markers that could be used to determine susceptibility to adverse vaccine reactions in the Pug. Learn more at

  9. Lola Says:

    Jan, I was just given your web site, and we are in need of any help we can get. Two days after a friend’s Samoyed puppy was given his first puppy shot (Fort Dodge; no lepto or corona), he began running a fever over 103 degrees, began staggering, running into things, and was basically “out-of-it.” He was put on antibiotics and returned to normal but after two days had another episode.

    The vet tried another antibiotic, but this time the puppy had an episode while on the antibiotic. More extensive blood work now indicates elevated liver enzymes, and the puppy is at an emergency/referral clinic, and the veterinarians are trying their best to help him.

    Any help/feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  10. Jan Says:

    Lola, for long term help, the puppy needs homeopathy. Short term, I’d have the ER vet consult with Dr. Jean Dodds or have your friend do it yourself if the vets won’t do it immediately. Dr. Dodds will usually answer very quickly. Email or call. She’s the foremost authority of vaccine reactions. Her contact info is here: I hope this helps.

  11. Jan Says:

    Lola, the contact info for Jean was incorrect. It should have been

  12. Carolyn M Says:

    Wow, Jan, thanks much for this update. My Maggie suffered a vaccine reaction 3 yrs. ago and I’ve been working to avoid yet another rabies vacc for her (she’s 10 yo). I live outside the US and it has been an uphill effort to get the titer test accomplished (Dr. Dodds IS wonderful, could not have been more prompt or helpful in facilitating). Now I need to see about getting a waiver since Maggie’s test showed she was still well protected. I speak from experience when I say that the vets I know here are unfamiliar with rabies vacc problems, titer testing, waivers etc. I am going to pass this article on to them. And thank you Jan — more than a year ago, I emailed you on this issue after reading “Poopless.” You suggested I get in touch with Dr. Dodds. Hugs and VERY BIG THANK YOU, Jan.

  13. Jan Says:

    My pleasure, Carolyn. Thanks for writing again. Good luck with Maggie and behind-the-times vets! — Jan

    PS If you have any pet loving friends near San Diego, I hope you’ll tell them Dr. Dodds is speaking at an event I’m organizing March 28.

  14. Kesha Says:

    My 12 1/2 year old Maltese died today I believe from an adverse reaction from a rabies shot. Although she was never sick previously. The Vet’s (primay and hospital) did not believe the shot could cause a reaction 12 hours later and said her illness was due to a minor kindey problem. Again, that had never been diagnosed previously. I’m not blaming the Vet’s, I just want them to be more open minded. The steriod was given promtly but the Lyssin was not. The proper regimen given timely could have saved my dogs life. I will definitely report my suspicions.

  15. Jan Says:

    Kesha, my heart breaks for you. But I can’t understand why you don’t blame the vets. How can they not immediately look at the vaccine as the cause? Did this delay caused by such convenient thinking lead to your dog’s death? Did the lack of understanding about homeopathy cause the death? Did they give a vaccine that contained mercury that cause the death?

    Please, report the death to the vaccine’s manufacturer. Please come back and tell us which vaccine it was and whether it was thimerosol (mercury) free? Make sure the vets report the death, even if they think it had nothing to do with the shot.

    Take care and help us stop this lunacy. If you’re anywhere near So. California, come to our Safer Pet Vaccination Seminar And support the

    Their opinion is not the issue. It’s the proximity of the vaccine to the death of your wonderful dog.

    Don’t just be sad. Learn and teach.

  16. Jan Says:

    And one more thing. Ask the vet who gave the shot if he/she thinks a 12 year old Maltese was at risk for becoming rabid.

  17. Honey Loring Says:

    My nearly 14-year old Standard Poodle was given a rabies shot by a vet at my regular practice, but not my regular vet, WITHOUT my being asked. He was there to be evaluated for medicine to help him with his arthritis, which we’d been treating for years. Previous to this time he was mobile, getting into the car on his own, bringing me toys to play tug, eating well and still ruling the roost. Within 24 hours of the shot he was on death’s door, unable to even stand, panting with great anxiety and glued to my leg. All blood work was good and revealed nothing. We pulled him through the night with drugs and miraculously, he lived another two months and was gradually getting back to the place he was before the rabies shot. He suddenly went downhill him one night, hunching up and panting and being restless. An emergency vet visit revealed it was not bloat or an obstruction and other than keeping him there for testing, they offered him no relief and at that point I wasn’t ready to make a decision to put him down as I had no faith in this emergency clinic. It was the worst night of my life, and his too, of course, as I watched him suffer to the point of nearly being in shock and being unable to move. Finally, we took him up to my regular vet when she opened the next morning and put him down. An autopsy revealed liver cancer that had spread. All his lab values for kidney, liver and pancreas were off at this point and he did have a thickening in his bowel. Since all his lab work was perfect two months before, I wondered if the rabies vaccine could have caused the cancer. I phoned Dr. Dodds and she said it would not have caused the liver cancer, but could have caused it to speed up. She explained that since the liver regenerates, it is not apparent that something is wrong with it until things are really bad.

    I am so angry and sad. I hope Hawk’s story will help someone else to save their old dog from such inept, almost criminal, vet care. You will need to advocate for yourself as almost every vet I’ve told this story to responds with, “But we have to give rabies.” In my state of Vermont, if your vet deems your pet to be too old, sick or stressed, your town clerk will still license the pet for one year if your vet writes a note. Maybe there is something like that in your state. Honey Loring

  18. Beth Says:

    Hi. I am getting a 12 wk old springer spaniel puppy in a few days. The breeder does not vaccinate her dogs, not even for rabies. She is recommending that I do not vaccinate because she feels he will have enough immunity from his mother. The breeder only feeds a raw, natural diet. Will titering be enough? Can I still socialize him with other dogs and go to puppy kindergarten, etc.? Thanks.

  19. Jan Says:

    Beth, this is a tough decision. First, maternal immunity doesn’t last. Difficulty in determining when it stops is why vets give multiple rounds of shots, hoping to catch the pup when maternal immunity ends before exposure to disease. One of the people I respect most, Dr. Ron Schultz recommends one shot if parvo, distemper and adenovirus-2 at 16 weeks, following 3-4 weeks later with a parvo-distemper titer test. You have to keep your pup away from other dogs, and places where other dogs have been, until then. He used to recommend shots and 12 weeks but it didn’t always give immunity.

    BTW, the adenovirus-2 shot is for “herd immunity.” The disease is virtually nonexistent in the US.

    I’m having a big Safer Pet Vaccination event w/ Drs. Schultz and Jean Dodds this Sunday in San Diego. If you live nearby, check it out.

    I’ll have more to report after the event. Write again.

  20. Jeff Says:

    My greyhound eddy [7] got his rabies shot a week ago today. In the evening following the shot he began having orange colored diharhea(sp). Over the next few days his muscles stiffened up and he began to have trouble walking ; he could no longer navigate the steps. Eddy’s urine was brown in color :( and consistantly ran a fever between 39 and 40. Eddy drank a little but was not interested in any kind of food. I took him to see a independant vet and he recommended that eddy be hospitalized. Tests indicated high biliruben levels in urine and compounds in his blood which indicated muscle damage. The Clinic treating Eddy are in the process of communicating with the vaccine manufacturer hoping that they will agree to cover my vets costs[ $700 or so]

    As treatment , eddy received IV which is improving the color of his urine and muscle anti inflamatories. I am scheduled to pick him up this afternon but feel that he is not out of the woods yet. It still concerns me that eddy is not eating and my fears are that he will return to his previous condtion

  21. Jan Says:

    Jeff, the trouble walking is a not uncommon reaction to a rabies shot.

    I hope you’ll consult a vet who has training in homeopathy. Just treating the symptoms, as your vet is doing, likely won’t solve the problem. Not eating is the biggest short-term problem. There’s a referral list at I also know vets who will do phone consults. Contact me directly for names at

  22. lark Hytinen Says:

    Exactly three days after Merial recombitek cb4 was given to my seven week old, healthy, happy Newfoundland pups they ALL came down with the parvo virus. We are extremely conscience about infection control and KNOW that they were not exposed in our home, nor had they been outside(after a long cold winter). Have you been getting reports like this? Thankfully all our pups survived, but it took hospitalization for ten days and a 5400.00$ vet bill. The company wants to extend a 500.00$ a pup “payment”. We feel like this is “hush money”. Can you help us? We don’t want anyone else to go through this trauma… It has us thinking seriously about never breeding again,
    Lark Hytinen
    Iron Range Newfoundlands

  23. Jan Says:

    Lark, I got this from a vet friend who spends her life researching vaccines:

    I have not heard anything yet. I did send out request to colleagues to see if they had heard anything. These vaccines of Merial use chimeras and this vaccine is a modified live, parvo may be wild type and caused the disease…..The company should pay all of the bills including the cost of the pups… very sad. Dr. Ford stated that one in ten dogs vaccinated with parvo vaccines would get parvo from the vaccine! Most all of whom I am associated would not give 5 way vax anyway, only a DAP or single parvo only. A modified live and multivalent vaccine as it was is much more likely to cause disease. Now that PCR DNA testing is available……if i were them I would demand that lots be tested and a full report be delivered to the owners with the result of genetic tracing to what was int that vaccine.

  24. Beth Blough Says:

    My friend sold a standard Schnauzer to a couple in Seattle Washington. They have had the puppy 10 weeks and they got him at 10 weeks of age. He had 1 dose of distemper and Parvo before he left. they were instructed to have the puppy seen by a Vet within 72 hours of arrival to ensure them that they puppy was healthy and to start and good relationship with the vet. the recommended shot protocol was sent along with the puppy as well as the recommendation that while he needed to be neutered we did not recommend this before 9 months of age and preferably after a year.
    Today the puppy is fighting for it’s life. it has puppy strangles which the vet informed the couple that this disease most likely ran in my friends genetic lines. in the meanwhile the puppy has received 4 series of whombo combo shots and has already been neutered!!!! he came home from the neutering and shots and got sick within 72 hours. He has lesions in his ears, his face and neck are distorted with swelling and they are distraught. What can they do for this puppy? Other then leave this vet which they are doing immediately
    A year ago one of my puppies was destroyed by a vet after she told the family that the puppy had to worst case of oral cancer that she had seen in 15 years and that (horrifically) it was the 15th case she had seen in 3 months! She recommended that the pup be put down immediately as it was suffering! I demanded that they take photos and send off a pathology report and the puppy back to me, it was too late they destroyed my beautiful boy. I knew from the photos he had canine papilloma virus an autoimmune puppy disease from over vaccination. how many “cancer” pups did she destroy from faulty diagnosis? 4 days later the pathology report came back CPV. She apologized and sent me a bill!!!!! I dont understand when it became about selling the vaccines and not about the health and well being of our family pets!
    If you can offer any suggestions for the treatment of puppy strangles we are all ears. Suffering in Atlanta and Seattle seeking advise!

  25. Jan Says:

    Beth, what a horrible story. I’m sorry to say I know nothing about treating strangles, although I’d sure seek out a vet trained in homeopathy and holistic medicine. There are referral lists at Homeopathy is the best cure for vaccinosis — vaccine induced disease. You need someone really skilled. I don’t know any vets in Seattle or Atlanta, unfortunately.

    There is a holistic consulting vet in Vermont who consults by phone. He’s absolutely brilliant. He’ll work with another vet, or in some states, can work with you directly. Reach him at He has been treating my dog Jiggy, who has autoimmune liver disease, for years. He has come to specialize in difficult cases. You send blood tests and any notes, then he’ll send a written recommendation and you can also talk to him directly. I’ve sent many people to him and they all love him.

    I don’t know whether it is too late or not, but I hope you report that horrible to your state veterinary association.

  26. Carole Papow Says:

    Hi, I had my 8 year old bullmastiff/cane corso mix vaccinated against rabies, and lymes. Within an hour, my 100 lb dog passed out in the middle of our street. He had white gums, a low pulse and freezing cold limbs. It took over an hour for the vet to revive him with steroids and iv, and thank God, he is home now, but still with a low red cell count and elevated white count. His bloodwork shows no indicators of a previous disease. I will never vaccinate again.

  27. Jan Says:

    Carole, shame on your vet for giving two highly reactive vaccines together. How can you report reactions when you don’t know which vaccine was to blame, or if it was a combination of the two? In any event, I hope you report the reactions to both vaccine manufacturers. Here’s an article that might help you:

  28. Keith Lorenzen Says:

    Last Friday we had our nine pound, 12 year old Shih Tzu in for hearing issues and ear cleaning. An ear cleaning and cytoloy was performed. She was given dexamethasone IM/SQ and two vaccinations (bordetella and DHPP w/o CVK) at their recommendation.

    Progressively her hearing and vision have diminished and today,five days later she appears almost completely blind. We have an appointment tomorrow and would like to know your thoughts on what the cause could be and how to intelligently question the vet. Hopefully the damage can be reversed. Thanks for your time.

  29. Jan Says:

    Hi Keith. I’ve never heard of a vaccination causing blindness. You should do a Google search for it. Still, the timing is interesting.

    I’m very disappointed that your vet vaccinated a 12 yr old dog. Why did she need puppy shots at her age? Was there an epidemic in the area? Was there reason to believe your dog lacked immunity? Why was a titer test not recommended instead? Why endanger your dog needlessly?

    There is no science and no veterinary organization, only drug companies, that would agree with this practice.

    Check out my articles on titer testing and eliminating unnecessary shots at

    Good luck.

    Also, why kennel cough? Not only is it ineffective, it is dangerous. Was your dog going into a clinic?

  30. Bethany Says:

    I have found a wonderful alternative to normal dog boarding here in Delaware! My dog really seems quite happy and eager to play with other dogs of approximate age & weight in a cage-free environment staffed 24/7. While I do love this place, I have recently learned that once a month or so they sponsor what they call “Vet Day”. Apparently vets come in & give ‘necessary’ vaccinations at reduced rates since the Wellness Exam fee is ‘waived’. Upon hearing this I asked if they actually do any wellness exam before giving the shots. I am shocked & (after losing an older dog to a terrible auto-immune disease, likely caused through over-vaccinations) downright horrified to learn that No, there is no wellness exam before the shots! Jan – is this even legal?? It sure as heck doesn’t seem ethical to me, and probably even neglectful. PLEASE give your thoughts on this ‘Vet Day’ event, and let me know if there is anything I can or should try to do to change or stop it. I could be mistaken, but this really scares the BLEEP out of me!!

  31. Jan Says:

    Hi Bethany. In my opinion, these “Vet Days” are irresponsible at best. They are putting profit over caution. Virtually every vaccine label states that the vaccine is for “healthy dogs only.” If there is no exam, how does the vet know the dog is healthy?

    Is it illegal? I doubt it. It would be interesting to find out what shots they say are “necessary” for adult dogs. They are probably giving too many different vaccines — vaccines inappropriate for the area and the age, health and lifestyle of the animal. They are also surely giving too many vaccines at once. See

    I suspect you have two options. One is to talk to the owner of the facility about the problem. You can send him/her guidelines set out by veterinary organizations. She will surely be jointly liable if a dog has a bad reaction. You might point out her liability. That might scare him/her. It would scare me. What happens if a dog dies at one of her sponsored events?

    Armed with information, you can write to your state’s veterinary medical board and complain. The vets are not only acting recklessly, but surely are NOT informing the clients of potential risks. This violates the doctrine of informed consent.

    It would be great if you could get others to join in, but it will be difficult. People don’t want to believe that vets ever do anything wrong and they probably don’t want to leave the facility.

    You asked if you SHOULD do anything. Let your conscience be your guide.

  32. Bethany Says:

    Thank you for your reply, Jan. As much as I would like to try talking the place out of hosting this ‘Vet day’, I also realize how extremely unlikely it is that the animal would actually die from the vaccines right there. They get those animals in and out so quickly! I also know all too well that if the pet does have reactions later, and/or dies, chances are slim that anyone would even acknowledge the connection to the vaccine. I don’t mean to sound so pessimistic here, but I doubt there’s much of a chance of me convincing the facility that those Vet Days are so very unsafe. Perhaps I will try the State’s Vet Board instead. Wish me luck!

  33. Sandra Says:

    Can autoimmune really be treated or reversed or cured. We have a 9 year terrier dying (literally withering away) since he had his vaccinations. We are told no cure that we should put him down, he eats, barely can stand and take a few steps, labored breathing after eating with stomach bloating.

  34. Jan Says:

    Sandra, autoimmune disease can be treated and often manages, but can’t always be cured. You need a holistic vet, one who understands how to use supplements and nutrition to heal. Find a referral list at If you can’t find one near you, let me know. Some vets treat over the phone when necessary.

    Don’t give up. My 12 Jiggy has been dealing with autoimmune liver disease for 11 years.

    Also, read the last half of You must make sure this reaction to vaccination was reported to the USDA and manufacturer. Your vet should do this but often won’t bother. The manufacturer may help with expenses.

    Good luck. Write again if I can help.

  35. Lynn Says:

    My 2 1/2 yr Rottie Rocky came down with ITP after being vaccinated with Bortadella and Canine Dapp on Feb 28th. I saw spots on his stomach. I called the vet and she thought it was just a rash from something outside. I thought it was because I was switching his food for he just got over having bladder stones in Dec. Low and behold black stool followed this May. After 5 days in the hospital he is now home and had a platelet count of 598K. He is a little anemic at 30 %. He has started a weaning program of 1 1/2 pred twice daily with 3 pepcid in the am and 1/12 twice daily of B Complex with iron. He is coming around we go back for hopefully another reduction in pred on June 15th. He did have his rabies shot and Bordadella at 1 1/2 thank goodness no reaction. However I will not give him any shots till his next rabies in 2 yrs. Its madanatory here in NJ and he is a Rottie. I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. I do know that it was either the Canine Dapp that caused this or the combination. I do hope that as the days progess both shots will wear off in his system and I pray to God he never gets this agian.

  36. Jan Says:

    Lynn, I believe that New Jersey does allow exemption from rabies vaccination for pets with medical problems. Please see listing 30 at Also, please read the second half of What to Do When Your Dog Has a Vaccine Reaction at Make sure your dog’s reaction was reported to the drug manufacturer and is detailed in your dog’s file.

  37. susie lefaivre Says:

    my four year old chi/terrier had a rabies vaccine on 5/18/12. He has not been normal since. Lethargic.vomiting, his eyes seem sensitive to light and watery. His back legs have just given out a few times and he seems very stiff. I also find him just staring at me alot. like what did you let them do to me. My heart is breaking. His dr gave benedryl. But i cant even get him checked because i cant pay for the office visit. My husband died a year ago and then i got laid off from a non profit job therefore dont qualify for unemployment. Is there anything i can do for him with no money?

  38. Vaccinations - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums Says:

    […] Treating Adverse Vaccine Reactions by Jean Dodds, DVM, world-renowned pet vaccination expert Feline Vaccination Protocol – Minimal Vaccine Use for Kittens – 2010, Jean Dodds, DVM […]

  39. Vicki sanchez Says:

    Hi, my six month old stafford shire bull terrier just got her rabies shot six weeks ago. She is now developing bald patches on her head and legs. Isherwood is a beautiful blue and now looks awful wi these patches. I am sure they are vaccine induced as she was perfect before having them done. I am furious about it. Will the fur grow back . Is it curable? I didnt want the vaccine in the first place. I feel like suing the government with their gung ho laws.

  40. Jan Says:

    Hi Vicki. I’m not an expert on this particular problem although it is a known reaction. What you should be most concerned about is your dog’s overall health. The skin problem is a symptom, not the cause.

    You need a vet trained in homeopathy to treat this. Most vets will treat the symptom not the cause. Check out the vets here: I’d get all the information on the vaccine: brand name, product name, lot #, serial #, expiration date, etc. and call the manufacturer. You should also call or write the USDA, although in theory the drug maker has to report the reaction. This should help you find contact into:

    You need to report the reaction. Get all the information on the vaccine: brand name, product name, lot #, serial #, expiration date, etc. and call the manufacturer. You should also call or write the USDA, although in theory the drug maker has to report the reaction. This should help you find contact into:

    If you have a chance please sign our petition telling the veterinary community we need to be fully informed before vaccination that these horrible things can happen. You can’t sue the government or the vet. Help us change things.

  41. Nikki Burnett Says:

    Hi Jan,
    I’m hoping you can give a little guidance…I’ll be as brief as possible. I have 2 mutts (blessings really) so I am not sure of the breed.

    I vaccinated them for the first 3 years I had them then began research and stopped. After the last booster, one of my dogs came down with pancreatitis. I e-mailed Dr. Pitcairn and he assumed it was from the booster, although I can’t recall the time between the booster and the pancreatitis attack.

    Forward 3 years, I took them both in the get rabies as required 3 months ago. Because of the incompetence of the clinic, both dogs were fully vaccinated and dewormed. Last week the same dog with the pancreatitis attack came up lame on his hind leg. Over a few days it seemed to get better. Then last Sunday his tail went limp and there’s a little pain. I assumed the two were related so took him to get checked out. They drew blood and realized he had elevated liver enzymes. Again, I have no idea if any of this is related but I find it very concerning. I should get the bile acids test results tomorrow to understand his liver function but I wanted to get your opinion on whether you’ve seen these symptoms in combination with one another and if it’s been too long since he’s had the boosters to start having problems. Obviously, I have no idea how long his liver enzymes have been elevated…maybe that happened immediately following the boosters and I’m only just finding it because of his other issues…?
    My apologies for the length and thank you for your thoughts.

  42. Jan Says:

    Nikki, it’s hard to say if the multiple onslaught of vaccines caused the pancreatitis and the limping, but is likely. Hind leg lameness is definitely a known reaction. Pancreatitis can have different causes. Getting multiple vaccines at once is definitely not good. Rabies should be given alone; the same goes for deworming; and the other shots likely weren’t even necessary.

    Get another vet. File a complaint against the other vet. Your vet should have fully informed you of what he/she was going to do and explained the risks and gotten your consent.

    And what does fully vaccinated mean? Make sure the reactions are in your dog’s file and get a copy.

    Re the elevated enzymes, how elevated are they? Even the stress of going to the vets can elevate them some. Write me again when you have more info. You’re not still using this vet, are you?

    Get a consult from one of Dr. Pitcairn’s homeopathic vet students. That’s the best hope to your dog’s recovery.

  43. Devon Says:

    Hi there,
    I stumbled upon your site looking for some information about vaccines. I have two pound puppies (9 and 12 weeks) that got their second round of 4in1 boosters as well as a second dewormer this pas Tuesday. They received the first set while at animal control, so we aren’t sure how they reacted to those, but our 9 week old little girl reacted terribly. Wednesday,the evening after her shot, she was vomiting, then on thursday she had horrible, explosive diarrhea and was generally listless. We fed her boiled chicken and rice, with pedialyte throughout the ordeal.Friday we took her to our vet. She had lost over a pound in the three days, and is looking increasingly emaciated. The vet gave her some subcu fluids, cerenia, diphenhydramine, and ran a blood panel (nothing abnormal save for slightly low white cell count). She sent us home with instructions to keep her hydrated and administer children’s Benadryl every 8 hours. She still has no interest in food or water. We have been giving her warmed wet food mixed with pedialyte, but she’s not her feisty little self. Sorry for the long winded rant. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  44. Jan Says:

    Devon, your vet shouldn’t have wormed her at the same time as vaccinating. Also, she only needed parvo and distemper vaccines, but that’s done. I’m not a vet, but if it were my little girl, I’d try to find a holistic vet who would evaluate her. She may not have developed immunity at only 9 weeks. If she were a little older, I’d do a blood antibody titer test to see if she had developed immunity, and you could still do it if you have $75 to $100 to spare. If not, find a vet who knows how to deal with these cases. And also click the tab that says: Questions to Ask. Wish I could help more.

  45. Vaccinations.. What is your opinion? - Page 2 - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums Says:

    […] […]

  46. Follow-up #2 to Quincy's illness - here's the release form and other info - Maltese Dogs Forum : Spoiled Maltese Forums Says:

    […] Magazine: And from Dr.Jean Dodds: Adverse Reactions to Vaccine: Treatment and Management | Truth4Dogs And Aaron, if you haven't read this book, you should buy it and read it today! It's must reading […]

  47. Billy K Says:

    I recently took my 13 yr old shihtzu in for a rabies vaccine as the 3 yr vaccine was due to expire. 2 wks later my dog is urinating blood and I take him to the vet and he was diagnosed with thrombocytopenia. I didn’t realize he had developed bruising in his ears, gums, on skin..etc. after a close examination of his condition he was sent to a 24 hr care facility and given a blood transfusion the following day. This blood disorder is very aggressive and Ive been advised that it may come back. After initial blood tests came back tick born disease was ruled out and my vet told me that thrombocytopenia is hard to figure what caused it but she believes it is a very good possibility that the rabies shot brought this blood condition on and recommended that I do NOT continue to get rabies or DHLPP yearly shots.

  48. Jan Says:

    Billy K, if your vet was giving yearly shots, find another vet. Shame on her. But at least good for her for recognizing that the vaccine caused the blood disease.

    Please report the reaction to the manufacturer; you may get reimbursement (or may not). Still, report it. It’s easy and important.

    And please read No small dog should get the lepto shot short of an epidemic and only if the dog plays in wetlands and woodlands. And virtually no dogs need distemper or parvo every year. In most cases, it lasts a lifetime.

    And why would a 13 yr old dog get any puppy shots? It’s cruel and unnecessary. Also, the rabies vaccine doesn’t expire. The legal requirement doesn’t.

  49. Adverse Vaccine Info - Maltese Dogs Forum : Spoiled Maltese Forums Says:

    […] It is from Dr. Jean Dodds. Please be informed about vaccines and how they may affect your pups: Adverse Reactions to Vaccine: Treatment and Management | Truth4Dogs __________________ Qui me amat, amet et canem meum. (Who loves me will love my dog also.), – […]

  50. Carmen Says:

    I have an American Eskimo dog that came into our rescue almost a decade ago. In his journey through the shelter system, we believe he may have been vaccinated for rabies multiple (3-4) times around 1-2 years of age when we got him. He was difficult and ended up being returned and never adopted again and stayed with me. Then several years later, he was accidentally vaxed again. ( Sigh, when confronted, the vet said “oh, don’t worry, we won’t charge you”, like the issue was the price!) His behavior has gotten progressively worse over the years, he self-mutilates (he tried to chew off his own tail resulting in surgical amputation) and displays schizophrenic type behavior. We have tried calming meds, antidepressants, anti-psychotics, thyroid meds(he was lowish normal but we thought it was worth a shot) and non-stop behavioral therapy. He sometimes levels off then always gets worse again. We have had to increasingly isolate him as he’s never been housetrainable and he has become more and more dangerous to the other dogs. This isolation certainly impairs his quality of life and increases his frustration.
    At this point, we have other things happening in our lives that make managing him just too much to deal with, and we are considering euthanizing him. “Good Jack” is a happy soul that doesn’t want to die but we see “Bad Jack” much more often these days.
    Unfortunately, I never recognized the potential correlation between his over-vaccination and his mental issues, so I never treated for it. Before we take that final step, I wanted to find out if there was anything more that could be tried so long after the vax’s.
    I don’t have a vet that will pursue this, but I do have one that will do what I ask, within reason. All the vets that have seen him just say he should be euth’d…
    Is there anything worth trying?
    Thank you…

  51. Jan Says:

    Hi Carmen. I wish yours was an unusual story, but it’s not. Aggression is a well-known adverse reactions to the rabies vaccine.

    You might want to read my article on treating vaccine reactions: I would particularly recommend that you contact Dr. Charles Loops. He consults by phone and his prices aren’t bad. You probably won’t need another vet to cooperate, but requirements differ from state to state. Or try to find a nearby holistic vet trained in homeopathy. Find Dr. Loops or another vet at Homeopathy usually works fairly quickly if it’s going to work, has virtually no side effects and is inexpensivee.

    You’re wonderful to be such a loving caregiver. I wish you the best of luck.

  52. Carmen Says:

    Thank you for your reply, I’m certainly willing to give him a try!

  53. Over vaccinating our dogs? Says:

    […] […]

  54. cynthia Says:

    Hello, My name is Cynthia and I am Mia’s Mom. She is a playfull one year old small/med Terrier mix. Three weeks ago she had her rabies vacccination. I have just discovered a quartrer size lump at the injecton site. I’m going to be monitoring it very closely and will be taking her back to the vet simply to document the reaction. I heard of a holistic approach to help “CLean/ Clear ” the adverse reaction to the vaccination. Please can you remind me what thoses suggestions are. BTY my heart breaks for all those doggie parents and thank them for sharing their experiences so that other doggies and parents don’t have to go through this again. Thank you for all you do.

  55. Jan Says:

    Cynthia, more often than not, the lump is just fluid from inflammation. Rarely, it is cancer. (I’m not a vet.) Experts tell me that if it’s still there two months in to have a biopsy done. If you can afford to do so, and you’re worried, you might do it after a month. Right now, report it to your vet and take photos. And report to the manufacturer. They might pay for a biopsy.

    Please read Also go to and read Questions to Ask and Report Reactions.

    Good luck.

  56. Jan Says:

    Cynthia, I forgot to mention that there is no one remedy. Consult a holistic vet for help.

  57. Bob Says:

    We adopted two 9 month old lab mix spayed females from a rescue shelter last Saturday. They were spayed last Friday. Our vet gave them the first of two lepto vaccines on Wednesday. One had a bad reaction and would not eat or move for close to two days. I will report this to the vet next week and have decided not to get the second shots. I’ve read alot of horror stories about this vaccine. Am I wrong?

  58. Jan Says:

    Bob, you aren’t not wrong. The lepto vaccine is one of the most dangerous. And it doesn’t give protection for long — if at all. If lepto epidemic in your area? Does the vaccine even protect against local strains?

    Make sure you report the reaction to the vet and the manufacturer. This is important!

    And please read this before you vaccinate again with any vaccine: Read this:

  59. chidude Says:

    Thank you for the article and information. But may I suggest you remove all references to homeopathy. It completely ruins your credibility. I have no problems with holistic approaches or supplements to help, but homeopathy is pure nonsense and based on a ridiculous premise about dilution makes things more potent. You might as well promote Reiki or energy healing. Those flaky ideas are just the same. I believe in Science and don’t mind supplements herbs/fruit like Lychee which may not have conventional studies yet, but work and aren’t based on “magic” like homeopathy is. I am concerned about my chihuahua getting such a shot, but adding something ridiculous to the discussion ruins your message. The steroid treatment makes sense, as does pre shot antihistamines, and avoiding multiple vaccinations at a time, but magical homeopathic drops??? Please stop this nonsense, this is why vets and doctors refuse to listen.

  60. The Great White Washing, Pt 2 – Show #430 | Says:

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  61. kris Says:

    We had our 4 yr. old standard poodle vaccinated for rabies in May and within 4 days suffered from stiffness, fever, thrombocytopenia, cellulitis around eye, malaise and severe pain and developed a mild heart murmur. He blood cts. are almost back to normal but yet two months later she doesn’t have her previous high energy back. How long can it take to return to normal? Our state doesn’t offer a medical exemption, but they can fine me or whatever because I will NOT vaccinate her again.

  62. Jan Says:

    Kris, you dog is fortunate to have recovered from throbocytopenia. Most don’t. I’m not a vet so I can’t answer your question about recovery time. Feed her well and give her time. She has escaped death. My dog didn’t.

  63. Benadryl proactively? - Poodle Forum - Standard Poodle, Toy Poodle, Miniature Poodle Forum ALL Poodle owners too! Says:

    […] APPROACHES TO MANAGING AND TREATING ADVERSE VACCINE REACTIONS" by W. Jean Dodds, DVM Adverse Reactions to Vaccine: Treatment and Management | Truth4Dogs Good luck at the vet's! __________________ CABRYN CHAGALL CGC Some of our greatest historical […]

  64. Joanne Says:

    I just had my 10 to bischon vaccinated for Lepto about 4 hours ago and he can hardly walk. He’s had the Lepto vac in the past and I don’t recall him having this reaction. He’s in his kennel now and won’t come out. I hope I didn’t make a mistake by having the SPCA give the shot…

  65. Jan Says:

    Joanne, how is your dog doing? Lepto is very dangerous for small dogs. Responsible vets won’t give it and some vaccine sellers even put a warning next to the product.. Also, it has a low effectiveness rate. Please read this.

  66. A G Says:

    Dear Posters/Dr. Dodd,

    I write to you as all vets in my area seem to be stumped by what has happened to my little Koko.
    He was administered the Puppy DP vaccine this past Saturday, and as of Sunday has lost the use of his hind legs.
    If anyone has any suggestions/similar experiences please write to me at the earliest.


  67. Jan Says:

    AG, hind end problems are rare but not unheard of after vaccination. Sorry I didn’t see your post sooner. You need a holistic vet to help. Conventional vets, even neurologists, seem to not have a clue. Where do you live? How’s Koko now?

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