Vaccinating Small Dogs: Risks Vets Aren’t Revealing

Written by Jan on September 30, 2009 – 12:01 am

At last, a smoking gun … discovered pointing directly at Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, Maltese, Yorkies and other small dogs … in fact, pointed at all dogs receiving multiple vaccines during one clinic visit.

Many scientific studies and taskforce reports have altered my view of vaccination over the years, but none have stunned me as much as “Adverse events diagnosed within three days of vaccine administration in dogs” by Drs. Moore, Guptill, Ward, et al.   This two-year study of vaccine reactions (from data gathered at 360 Banfield clinics in 2002 and 2003) concluded: “Young adult small-breed neutered dogs that received multiple vaccines per office visit were at greatest risk of a VAAE [Vaccine Associated Adverse Event] within 72 hours after vaccination.” And that’s not all the report revealed.

In the study (published in JAVMA, the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association in October, 2005), 1.2 million dogs received almost 3.5 million vaccine doses.  Reactions reported within 3 days (as designated by computer codes) included nonspecific vaccine reactions, allergic reactions, urticaria (hives), anaphylaxis (severe, whole-body allergic reaction), cardiac arrest, cardiovascular shock and sudden death. For each 10,000 dogs vaccinating, 38 adverse reactions were reported.

You’re probably thinking: just 38 reactions per 10,000 dogs?  That’s not too bad.  But bear in mind that this study did NOT include:

  • Reactions reported more than 72 hours after vaccination (thus eliminating reactions taking longer to develop or be discovered, such as injection site cancers, autoimmune diseases, skin diseases and other major conditions).
  • Reactions that occurred but were never reported by clients.
  • Conditions not recognized by the vet as vaccine reactions.
  • Conditions not selected for this study. (Seizures weren’t on the list, nor were countless other common reactions.)
  • Conditions not recorded by the vet.  The 2007 World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Vaccine Guidelines reports “gross under-reporting of vaccine-associated adverse events ….”
  • Reactions in dogs also getting a heartworm shot, presumably because of the increased risk of reaction. (Currently,vets are warned not to give Proheart 6 with a vaccination.)

The study’s researchers (6 of 7 were vets) recommended that veterinarians should communicate the increased risk of multiple vaccines to clients before obtaining their consent to vaccinate. At this writing, a full 4 years after the study’s publication, I suspect few clients have actually been warned about the risk of multiples vaccines at one visit, or about special risks to smaller dogs. Were you ever warned?

Factors Increasing The Risk of the Vaccine Adverse Reaction

Body Weight. The reaction rate increased significantly as body weight decreased. That is, small dogs were at greatest risk for a reaction. Risk for dogs weighing 11 pounds or less was 4 times greater than the risk for dogs weighing 99+ pounds. Medium-sized dogs also had increased risk over larger dogs.

For all vaccines and for the rabies vaccine given alone, the reaction rate for dogs weighing 22.2 to 99 lbs. was approximately half the rate of dogs weighing less than 22.0 lbs. Little dogs had 32+ reactions per 10,000; medium-sized dogs, 15+; large dogs, none.

Neutering/Spaying. Neutered dogs had a 27% to 38% greater risk versus sexually intact dogs.

Age. Dogs 1.5 to 2.5 years of age had a 35% to 64% greater risk of reactions (with rates increasing up to 2 years and declining thereafter) than puppies 2 to 9 months old. The risk was least for dogs 6 years of age and older.

Number of vaccines per office visit.The risk significantly increased as the number of vaccines given at each visit increased. In little dogs (under 10 lbs.) each dose increased risks by 27%; in dogs weighing more, each dose increased risk by 12%.

Taking all dogs into consideration, each additional vaccine given at each office visit increased the rate of vaccine reaction by 24.2%. All 3 dogs in the study with recorded deaths had each received 4 or more vaccines at their last office visit.

3 or more vaccines given at once increase the risk of a vaccine reaction 50% over the risk of a single shot.  Giving 5 simultaneous vaccines doubles the risk!

Breed. Among breeds with 5,000 or more dogs vaccinated during the study period, the most vaccine reactions per 10,000 dogs were found, in order, in Dachshunds, Pugs, Boston Terriers, Miniature Pinschers and Chihuahuas.  Next came Maltese, Miniature Schnausers, Jack Russells, Toy Poodles and Yorkshire Terriers.  Mid-size dogs (like Lhasa Apsos, Bichons and Beagles) followed.  At the bottom of the list was Chow Chows, German Shepherds and Rottweilers.

Purebred Status. The vaccination reaction rate for mixed-breed dogs was in the bottom fifth of all rates.  The researchers state: “safety trials that use such dogs may underestimate the reaction rates that would occur in purebred dogs.”

Why Does a Dog’s Weight Have Such a Big Impact?

The researchers report: “Vaccines, in contrast to virtually all veterinary pharmaceuticals, are prescribed on a 1-dose-fits-all basis, rather than by body weight.”

I have always been shocked that a Chihuahua puppy and an adult Great Dane are given the same dose shot: 1 mL. They get the same volume of virus or bacteria plus the same volume of adjuvants (boosting agents like aluminum), preservatives (like mercury), antibiotics, stabilizers and foreign tissue cultures (like fetal calf serum).  All these ingredients are known to cause vaccine reactions. (Learn more about vaccine ingredients at the CDC.)

The study’s researchers go on to say that during a vaccine’s pre-licensing trial, manufacturers investigate the safety of excessive doses of vaccines “but only in a limited number of dogs. The results of this study suggest that trials in dogs that weigh [22 lbs.] underestimate the expected VAAE rate in smaller dogs.”

The risk of a vaccine reaction in this study population was inversely related to a dog’s weight. This weight/response relationship was also suggested by a study in which toy breeds had significantly more reactions than other dogs, although body weight was not evaluated.

How Do You Avoid Reactions to Vaccines?

The study detailed here reports the problems, but not the remedy.  They only recommend that veterinarians advise clients of the risks.

Regrettably, I have been unable to find you a link to the study on-line. Your vet may have on-line access if he/she subscribes to JAVMA ( J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2005 Oct 1;227(7):1102-8).  You can read a short summary or have your non-subscribing vet request the article for a small fee at or Note: A smaller study for cats entitled “Adverse events after vaccine administration in cats” turned up similar results to the dog study.

If your vet gives multiple shots in a visit, you should insist that he/she read this study.  If your vet has already read it, he/she should explain to you why you weren’t informed of the risks to your dog of multiple shots, especially if your dog was small or medium sized.

Please read my article on Protecting Dogs From Vaccine Reactions for my recommendations for avoiding adverse reactions in all size dogs. Sign up for notification of  future articles and our free dog care e-newsletter (delivered quarterly). Follow K9Author at Twitter.

This is an important study. Please bookmark this article and send it to friends.

Related articles:

Visit our new website just on vaccination:

Watch our new video on pet vaccine reactions:


Combination Shots for Dogs: Weapons of Over-Vaccination
Titer Test: Don’t Vaccinate Your Dog Unnecessarily
Vaccinating Dogs: 10 Steps to Eliminating Unnecessary Shots
Vaccinating Unhealthy Pets: Beware Reactions & Vaccine Failure

Tags: dog, dog shots, dog vaccinations, puppy shots, puppy vaccination schedule, puppy vaccinations, rabies, rabies shot, reactions, small dog vaccination risk, toy dogs, Vaccination, vaccine, vaccine reactions
Posted under Small Dogs, Uncategorized, Vaccination | 250 Comments » Email This Post

250 Comments to “Vaccinating Small Dogs: Risks Vets Aren’t Revealing”

  1. kelly Says:

    Hi I have a one year old Chihuahua Gizmo popawheelie and a 5 month old Chihuahua Summer Girl. Gizmo is tiny and weighs 3-4 lbs Summer weighed in today at 6 lbs. Summer had both set of puppyshots over past two months in two visits 4 weeks apart she had a reaction to both . Ive had Chihuahuas and Ive never seen any of them have any reaction to the vaccines but today I told the vet that summer had a pretty bad reaction last time to the puppy set of shots he nose swelled up she was red on her head her nose her neck her tummy and her paws . so I asked if she would be okay if she got this rabie shot the vet did seem very concerned so she gave her the rabie vaccine and then benidryl and said she would be sleepy all day.

    she was right but summer just woke up and was acting really weird she was shaking and acted like she was afraid of me like when I moved my hand towards her she flinched really hard like I was gonna hit her 🙁 she acted very scared and she is shaking a lot harder than normal and she kept turning her face away from looking at me like all the way around. she feels very rigid like very tense I called the vet emergency they said to keep an eye on her if she gets worse to bring her in. so I get online and I find this…I cannot believe what I am reading.

    My little summer has had 3 vaccines in 3 months shes 5 months old today. I have told my husband that she seems different like I get this feeling something is wrong. and when I feel this way summer gets really sick I had to rush her to animal hospital after her last vaccine her heart rate was very very high she couldn’t stop moving her head back n forth for 2 days I sat up with her thinking I was gonna lose her. Im so afraid now because she just got this vaccine for rabies at 10 am this morning so shes still showing signs of a reaction I just don’t know how bad it will get.

    I love my little fur kid so much I don’t want to lose her I couldn’t deal with that. People don’t realize sometimes these dogs are our family I lost my dad my brother my best friend and my 7 yr old Chihuahua all within 2 yrs summer is the first dog ive had since and Im just so fussy over her I guess because Im so happy I could still be close to another dog this much after all that stuff. I didn’t know about the risk of all these vaccines but I certainly don’t think that dogs like summer who is prone to a reaction should have to have the vaccine. I literally keep my dogs at home they play outside but mainly inside we take them on trips with us but they do not get out on any dirt because I know parvo lives in dirt for 20 years. I just hope summer is gonna be okay shes all shakey and tense and red and puffy nose and her eyes look funny to me but they said its normal. I don’t think so..

  2. Jan Says:

    Kelly, somehow I didn’t see your post until today. I’m sorry. Please write me and let me know how Summer is doing. I hope she got through what sounded like a severe allergic reaction. You’re right. It’s not normal. Trust your instincts — not that vet.

    Please read this: If you even think about vaccinating again, read this:

    Do you let me know how things are going.

  3. JANA Says:


  4. Why Vets Don’t Recognize Vaccine Reactions - Dogs Naturally Magazine Says:

    […] 8.3% and 5.5% respectively of reactions reported to the USDA.  It also doesn’t include vaccine reactions happening within three or more days after vaccination – despite a major study published in the AVMA’s own Journal in 2005.  And what about […]

  5. Jan Says:

    Jana, your post was somehow lost. Please read this: If you need more information, please let me know. Also read

  6. Barbara Says:

    About 8 days ago, my friend took her beloved 9 year old Boston Terrier to the vet for Parvo, Rabies, and Distemper vaccinations. Approximately 1 hour after arriving home, the dog began showing signs of distress and my friend took the dog back to the vet. The vet administered pain meds and put her on an IV, while having my friend wait in the outer office. The dog was sent home that night but continued to show signs of distress, prompting a visit to the emergency clinic last night. Again my friend was told to wait in the outer office. The vet then told my friend the dog “might have a brain tumor” since it appeared to be neurological. Not wanting her pet to suffer, my friend agreed to have the dog put down.

    My questions are as follows:
    1. The dog was healthy prior to the vaccinations: does this sound like a “brain tumor” or an anaphylactic reaction to the vaccinations?
    2. Should the vet have informed the owner of the risk of administering multiple vaccinations in an older, smaller breed dog PRIOR to administrating the vaccinations?
    3. Should the 9 year old dog have been administered the Parvo and Distemper vaccinations as she is never kenneled and has little or no contact with dogs other than her sister (from the same litter), and has built up an immunity to these diseases due to her age?
    4. Is it possible the vets may have been unaware of the multiple vaccine risks in older, small breed dogs?
    4. Should the Parvo, Distemper, and Rabies shots have been administered at separate visits, if at all?
    6. Is the vet required to report the death to the manufacturer of the vaccines?

    I will be asking these questions of both of the vets tonight as we do not want this to happen to her litter mate next year when she is due for her vaccinations.

    Thank you.

  7. Jan Says:

    Barbara, thanks for writing. Here are my thoughts to your questions:

    Q1. The dog was healthy prior to the vaccinations: does this sound like a “brain tumor” or an anaphylactic reaction to the vaccinations?
    A: A brain tumor, which would be very rare, would be quite a coincidence! Vaccine reactions aren’t rare. And excuses aren’t rare, either.

    Q2. Should the vet have informed the owner of the risk of administering multiple vaccinations in an older, smaller breed dog PRIOR to administrating the vaccinations?

    A: Yes. It’s called informed consent. The vet should inform the client of risks and then get their permission to proceed. Most of them don’t.

    Q3. Should the 9 year old dog have been administered the Parvo and Distemper vaccinations as she is never kenneled and has little or no contact with dogs other than her sister (from the same litter), and has built up an immunity to these diseases due to her age?

    A: In my opinion (I’m not a vet), no. If there was any question of waning immunity, the vet could have recommended a titer test.

    4. Is it possible the vets may have been unaware of the multiple vaccine risks in older, small breed dogs?

    A: The study of 1.5 million dogs was published in 2005 in the AVMA Journal. It has been mentioned in numerous articles since. It is possible that the vet didn’t read it, but in my opinion, the vet should have. Most vets turn a blind eye to the dangers of vaccination.

    4. Should the Parvo, Distemper, and Rabies shots have been administered at separate visits, if at all?

    A: I don’t believe that the parvo and distemper shots should be given at all unless there was proven need. The dog, according to expert Dr. Ron Schultz, says that the dog had a 95% of having lifetime immunity.

    The rabies vaccine should have been give at a separate visit. Live virus vaccines, like p & d, should not be given with killed virus vaccines. And the rabies vaccine is known to be more likely to cause reactions. And, of course, the more vaccines given at once, the bigger the danger. Most vets don’t take these precautions.

    Q6. Is the vet required to report the death to the manufacturer of the vaccines?
    The vet should, but they often can’t be bothered. Your friend can and should report it to the manufacturer and elsewhere.

    A: Here are some articles of interest by the top expert in the field: And

    I hope this helps. I’m sorry for your friend’s loss.

  8. Stella Beard Says:

    Help. We have a 15 month old Bischon/Shih-tzu that weighs 8 lbs. We have always taken him on time to get his shots at the vet. This last time he had a rabies and distemper shot at the same time. I took him back one week later since he was scratching uncontrollably and it was not time for his flea meds. The vet gave him a steroid shot. We had also noticed that he has become extremely aggressive and is now obsessed with “humping” our male cat (he did not do this before). He has not been neutered. He use to love to play at night with my husband but now he just bites and growls and doesn’t want to play. He shakes when going to sleep and doesn’t want to let us pet him and he doesn’t wZnt to lay with us at night in bed like he use to. He just seems to be so restless. After reading this blog, I think he is experiencing a adverse reaction to his rabies vaccine. Can you give me any help on what I can do to help? We just want our Nook back.

  9. Yvonne Hudson Says:

    Why do you not talk about the dangers of spaying and neutering too early. New information shows this comes with a whole lot of health problems, from heart problems to bones not growing properly.

  10. Jan Says:

    Yvonne, I do talk about it. See Thanks for bringing up the subject again.

  11. Jan Says:

    Stella, find another vet. Your vet doesn’t even recognize the reaction let alone know how to treat it. Check out the holistic vets at Several consult by phone if you can’t find one near you.

  12. sally Says:

    My 3lb 9 oz chi dog had rabies and Dapp vaccines. the vet gave both at same time. she had hives neck and face swelling within 6 hours took her back in before closing. the gave her a steroid shot and told me to start giving her antihistamine 3-4 times. seemed ok for two days then broke out in hives again. another steroid shot, liquid in the shoulder for dehydration and more histamine. two days later throwing up and blood in stool. emergency vet twice more fluids and nausea meds. went back now lower GI med. next day back to my vet more fluids. It does go on and on. she is put on low fat diet for GI, loses a lb, now add high protein, her tummy hurts from med so now on pectolin. She still gets hives and I give her small amount of histamine. I will get an apt with a holistic vet but that is 2 weeks out at the earliest I could get her in. Also seems like she pees a lot but I was told that is not to worry about because she is on canned food from the vet and has water in it.

  13. Jan Says:

    Sally, there are holistic vets at who consult by phone. Especially try Dr. Loops. He knows a lot about vaccine reactions.

    Your present vet should have known better than to give two vaccines at once to a tiny dog. Also report the reactions to the manufacturer and have the vet do the same. Then dump the vet.

    You may be able to get an exemption to rabies vaccination the next time out. Keep all your records.

  14. Christina Says:


    I have three chihuahua’s. One named Bella (8.5 lbs) who is a rescue from NSAL, one named Lexi (6.5 lbs) who is a chihuahua from a pet store in town, and another named Minnie (2.5 lbs) who we got from the same pet store in town after she was returned by a family because they didn’t take proper care of her. My bella just had her shots on 10/7/15 and on 10/17/15 I noticed she had a hard lump near where she had the shot. I was concerned so I brought her back to the vet where they did an xray and said nothing showed up on the xray besides her microchip which is near the same viccinity but not where the lump is. The vet tech who held her while she received her vaccines stated the lump is 99% likely from the vaccine because it’s in the same spot he gives the vaccines and it showed up a little over a week after the shot was given.
    Normally my dog has a reaction within a day or two of the shot. Can this be normal?

    I get so nervous now due to my other chihuahua terrier mix Ralphie that was only 9 passing from cancer that spread through out his body without a single sign. Also, my little Minnie the 2.5 pounder has a lump that moves around under her skin that feels a little bit bigger than a pea but is not as hard as my Bella’s and she just recieved vaccines too. I’m pretty sure he altered the amount given because he is very caucious with that kind of stuff, not to mention he made a statement about how tiny she was and how he was going to have to barely give her any vaccine. I’m wondering if this lump on Minnie can be from the vaccine or could it be her microchip because its on her back near her shoulder blade/neck area and shes so tiny and thin you can feel everything. Please advise!

  15. Jan Says:

    Christina, the lump could be from either the chip or the vaccine. Rabies vaccines are supposed to be given in the right hip and I wonder why it wasn’t. Also, the exact location should have been recorded in your dog’s file.

    Don’t worry. A lump after vaccination is fairly common. Experts have told me they should be biopsied if they’re still there in two months. A sarcoma is relatively rare, although possible. You should make sure the lump is reported to the drug maker. And make sure it’s in your dog’s file.

    And please read this before vaccinating again.

  16. Cindy Says:

    Our dog is not a small dog, but a GSD. Approximately a couple of weeks.after getting his vaccines he began losing weight, had large yellowish running piles of stool, an increased appetite and began eating paper towels and napkins. We took him to the vet. After many tests, me looking on the internet, a younger vet in the practice contacted a classmate.who was a GI specialist. He suggested we contact Texas A and M. A blood test was sent to them and it came back he had Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency. He is on enzymes now, he was diagnosis almost 2 yrs. ago, and is doing well. I’ve always wondered if the vaccinations affected his pancreas.

  17. Ellen Says:

    My dachshund/Chihuahua ALWAYS had immediate sneezing and itching after shots. Fortunately for us, the mobile clinic where we first started getting his shots knew that both of those breeds are prone to allergic reactions to vaccines and gave him and his brother an antihistamine shot and 15 minute wait before they got their actual shots. Unfortunately I took my dog to another clinic and even told the vet tech that he had allergic reactions, and their response to me was “we don’t have those shots here” and after his shots he immediately had an allergic reaction. Luckily I brought Benadryl for my baby just in case something like this happened. I was so mad I said something to a friend I know who worked there and the owner was livid because they should have given him an antihistamine. Sometimes the vets don’t know or don’t care. I’ve learned that research is my best friend.

  18. Jan Says:

    Ellen, I’m sorry to say you might be missing the forest for the trees. Your dog likely shouldn’t be vaccinated at all. Would you eat peanut butter if you were allergic, or would you do research to see if you need peanut butter at all. He/she probably isn’t if your dog is over 4 months of age.

    Please read this: And please make sure all your dog’s reactions are recorded and recorded in your dog’s file. You may want to try for a rabies vaccination exemption.

  19. Sandra Says:

    I have a mini Dachshund she is 12 weeks old. I took her to vet to get a Booster shot. He gave her DA2PPV and with in an hour I was rushing her back to the vet because her dark brown eyes were grey and almost swollen shut. He face was very swollen and her heart rate racing and throwing up. I was sure she was going to die at any moment she could not stand at all she just fell over.

    The vet acting like no big deal and gave her a shot of Benadryl and told me to keep giving her benadryl 3 times a day for 2 more days. Oh and my puppy only weighs 4 lbs. I am very worried now that she may have liver damage or other issues. What should I do for her. She seems fine on day two but long term will she have health issues ? Should I ever get her vaccinated again? Like a booster or rabbis?

  20. Jan Says:

    Sandra, a life-threatening allergic reaction is definitely a big deal and your vet knew it. Such a reaction was a possibly all along. Were you warned?

    Let your vet know that the adverse reaction continued and make sure it is noted in your dog’s file.

    You ask if your dog should be vaccinated again. Rabies is legally required, although in some states you can get an exemption. Fortunately, a bad reaction to one vaccine will not necessarily mean a bad reaction to another vaccine, especially if it is given alone. Wait as long as she can legally.

    In theory, your dog will need another distemper and parvo vaccine. If you can’t afford it, please get a parvo/distemper titer test to see if another vaccine is needed. Learn more about titer testing here: Your vet may offer to just give the vaccine with Benadryl, but that is not a safe solution.

    You will be legally required to give a rabies vaccine. You may or may not be able to get an exemption, depending on where you live and your vet’s support. If you can afford it, please see a holistic vet who may help you keep your dog safer. Clearly your vet is not sensitive to the problems that vaccines can cause.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about long term problems yet. But find a better vet. And read this before vaccinating again.

  21. Christine Says:

    I have an 8 year old yorkie that I had taken to have his yearly routine vaccines, and by mistake he also received a rabies vaccine that was not requested and was not due yet. I am now told he has impaired liver functioning, and I have to take him to a specialist and have an ultrasound done. The more that I read about the dangers of these vaccines, the more I am convinced that it was what caused his liver impairment. When I paid my bill for his vaccines, is when I realized they had given him the rabies vaccine by mistake, and I questioned them about it. The girl checking me out said that it only cost $13 and it would not hurt him. My question is, “should I have taken some kind of further action at that time? Is there something that could have been done to reverse any kind of damage? “I am very scared and worried for my little dog. He means the world to us.

  22. Jan Says:

    Christine, FIRST get your dog’s file, making sure all the vaccines given were listed, along with where on the dog they were given, what other vaccines or medicines have been given. What kind of vaccines and what brands? Be nice for now.

    There’s really nothing you could have done when paying the bill. This vet would not have know how to treat a reaction. He/she doesn’t seem to even think they exist.

    Write again when you have the info requested. I am not a vet, but if your Yorkie were mine, I’d consult a holistic vet first unless your dog is in distress now. The vaccine assault likely caused the liver problems.

  23. Cathyb Says:

    Hi, Jan, I’ve known you, tho not personally, for year, thru Brooke Andrews, who has passed away a couple of weeks ago….
    I have a question about my 6 month old maltese…She was given her shots about 6 weeks ago, and about two weeks ago began to show Small White Dog Shakers Syndrome, though of course, the Vet here ins Spain knew nohing about it…In any case, because of my readings, and not realizing it might be the vaccine…I told her we should put her on steroids, stat..Evidently she began to read up on it as well…and agreed totally on everything I mentioned to her…Diva, my little Malt, is doing well, but we won’t take her off the steroids yet. Erun, my vet..told me she would NOT give Diva the second set of shots, and probably not the rabies, either…My question is,,,might there be any relation between the vaccine and the Shakers Syndrome…?? She never DID stop eating, lol….Hugs and thanks..Cathy

  24. Jan Says:

    Cathyb, are you speaking about Brooke who was mom to Tuffy and Buddy? We never actually met, but shared a love of Maltese and corresponded over the years. I knew she was seriously ill and am so sorry she lost her battle. She was a sweet soul.

    I don’t know about a link between vaccines and Shakers, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Why don’t you write Dr. Dodds at She’ll know.

    Fortunately, your dog was old enough to have developed immunity to the most important diseases. You could do a titer test for parvo and distemper.

    I’m so sorry for your (our) loss.

  25. Cathyb Says:

    Yes, Jan, that’s the Brooke, Brooke Andrews, she lived in Arizona, and admired you greatly. She had Maltese all of her life…and the two little ones, Tuffy and Buddy, are now with their Daddy, Don…
    She’s the one who introduced you to our Mainly Maltese group…and to your book, which, of course, I have..
    Thanks for Dr.Dodds’ name…will write him tonight…

  26. Linda Murphy Says:

    I recently took my 3 small breed dogs(Yorkie, Maltese mix, Dachshaund mix) to the vet for their regular shots. While at reception desk I explained that I needed to buy some flea/tick medication because we live in a wooded area and ticks are thick. The receptionist asked me if I wanted a Lymes Disease shot for the dogs. Thinking this was a good idea given they will regularly pick up ticks in the yard, I agreed. Well, I should have asked more questions-my bad!

    Each of my dogs received 3 shots that day. About 10 hours later my Maltese Mix broke out in a rash on his stomach and his face started to swell. We took him to the after hours emergency clinic. We read on-line that this was a reaction to the Lymes prevention vaccination and this was confirmed at the clinic. Our Maltese mix had a history of severe skin issues that involved a variety of treatments that after almost 2 years he is finally clear of skin issues. My point here is that the clinic that treated him for his severe skin issues is also responsible for giving him 3 vaccinations in 1 office visit. My Maltese has recovered from his adverse reaction.

    About 4 days later we noticed that our Yorkie was not eating and was lying around much more than usual. She started vomiting 2-3 times per day for the next 3 days. We took her to the vet and she was given an antibiotic and pill for nausea. During this time she continued to drink water and urinate but would not eat. She quit throwing up after we started on the medication but she would not eat. 3 days later we took her back to the vet and yesterday she spent the night at the veterinary office in order for them to place her on an IV for fluids and a steroid. I just received word that she needs to spend another evening.

    I talked to the vet in length about my concerns about the number of vaccinations they received at one visit and it was met with no comment. They are suggesting a number of additional tests be ran to determine the cause of her elevated calcium levels, etc.

    I am very concerned for her and feel terrible for not asking more questions about the adverse effects of vaccinations and/or the Lymes Disease vaccination itself. My pups are each 15#’s or less and it was not a smart move. I’m disappointed in the vet not offering more information.

  27. Jan Says:

    Linda, you need a new vet. Write me and I’ll send you a study to show your vet about the dangers of vaccinating a small dog with multiple vaccines. A summary of this study is at

    What are “regular shots?” Your adult dogs likely need no shots other than the legally-required rabies. Your vet should definitely know this.

    Ask your vet to fully explain the reactions in your dogs file and tell him/her to report the reactions to the manufacturer and USDA. Get a copy of the file. Do the same yourself. If your vet will advocate, the manufacturer may help pay for vet expenses.

    If you want a holistic vet, check out I hope your dog feels better.

  28. Kathy Cassette Says:

    I need to have two of my Yorkies exempt from the rabies vaccine. They are both in Stage 4 Kidney Failure, seizures, vestibular syndrome and other issues. Each day has their challenges. They only go outside when they go to the Vet – they aren’t biters and too sick to care about other dogs. I truly believe the vaccine will kill them. We live in NC and they weigh 3.8 and 4.8 lbs.

  29. Jan Says:

    Kathy, as far as I can tell, NC doesn’t allow exemptions, although your dogs surely need them.

    If you have a good vet, the vet should fight for your dogs. Even states not legally allowing exemptions will sometimes fight for dogs on a case by case basis, or at least won’t pressure you to vaccinate. Do you have a holistic vet? If not, check out the list at In general, they are more likely to help because they know more about vaccine reactions.

    Stand your ground. Good luck.

  30. Jerry-Lynn Says:

    I brang my puppy 3 pounds to the vet for its first shots it was given the distemper combination with Adenovirus type 2 Parainfluenza-Parvovirus vaccine got into the car and make it a block when pudder started vomiting and her eyes were rounding back in her head turned around and went back to the vet she had had an allergic reaction they had to give her steroids and anti histamines which i was charged for I have to continue the anti histamines for 2 day she was still having a reaction after 2 days.

    it has been 4 weeks and the vet wanted me to come in for her next shots. I had told them on the phone i wouldn’t get the next distemper combination but i would get the rabies. I arrived at the vets for her rabies shot and the vet brang in the distemper conbination thank god i ask because she was ready to give it to her but after going though what i did with the first shot i wanted to make sure she wasn’t going to be getting another combination

    she said no I am going to give this to her to make sure she does have a reaction to the next distemper combo i freaked out after a yelling match she had me sign a paper that said that i she recommended it and i didn’t want it done. I told her i would sign it but i also put a full explanation of what happened the first time by my signature . I got the rabies instead but after reading all the comments on your page i will be not vaccinating my dog anymore.

  31. Jan Says:

    Jerry-Lynn, did your pup get the rabies vaccine? How old was she when she got her distemper/parvo?

  32. Tara Says:

    On May 19th, my 7 year old Pug had his 3 yr. rabies, annual distemper combo, and lyme vaccination. Last night, he had 3 seizures. I wasn’t home so my son took him to the ER vet. He is still there because he is dopey from the Phenobarbital they administered to him to control the seizures. The vet (not the same one that he was vaccinated by) told me it may be epilepsy or a brain tumor so my Pug will have to stay on anti seizure meds! I have been doing research all day and believe the seizures were caused from the vaccinations. What is your opinion?

  33. Jan Says:

    Tara, I have to say that your vet is either ignorant or greedy or both. Your poor Pug had too many vaccines at once. Your dog is unlikely to have needed a parvo/distemper booster as well. They Lyme shouldn’t have been given at the same time as the rabies; both are highly reactive.

    Please read this: Make sure you ask the vaccine manufacturer to help pay for your bills. They probably won’t but it’s worth trying.

    When you’re ready to learn more about vaccines, read

    And fire your vet! The thought of it being a tumor or epilepsy and not a vaccine reaction is crazy! And cowardly.

  34. Rabies Vaccination: 13 Ways to Vaccinate More Safely – Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness Says:

    […] Multiple vaccines given at once greatly increase the chance of reactions.  Multiple vaccines are especially risky for small dogs. […]

  35. Debra Rosa Says:

    My beautiful baby tea cup Pom 3 1/2 pounds and 6 years old was murdered by her vet bc of ignorance. Within 3 months she slowly went down and died a horrible death. I finally figured it out. The signs all began after her last vacines

  36. Lisa Says:

    My little 6 1/2 lb Shih Tzu began having cluster seizures one month after receiving a rabies and bordatella shot. After an initial consultation, we took her to the teaching hospital where she was diagnosed with a probable case of GME after MRI and spinal tap. Unfortunately, she never responded to intense treatment and continued to decline and she passed just one week to the day that her symptoms began. Upon autopsy, NME was determined to be cause of death. We feel strongly that the vaccines were the trigger for this horrible auto immune reaction. We still have her sister/litter mate who we will titer test in the future and no vacations if not absolutely necessary!! Thank you for all your information.

  37. Jan Says:

    Lisa, I’m so sorry for your loss. When you’re up to it, please make sure that both you and your vet report the reaction to the drug maker and maybe the USDA. Suspected actions should be reported; they don’t have to be certain reactions. Reporting info is here:

    If you’re really insistent, the drug maker may compensate you for some of your vet bills, although they are not required to.

    If you have another dog, please read this before vaccinating again. And tell your friends.

  38. Linda Says:

    My beautiful 7 week old Shih Tzu was taken by the breeder to the vets for her first “Puppy Shot”. I got a text from her that morning saying my baby was healthy and weighed 2-1/2 pounds. 10 minutes later, I got another text saying they were heading back to the vets because the two females in the litter were having labored breathing. A few minutes later I got another text telling me that both female puppies were dead. The vet wasn’t able to do anything for them. The boys were fine. The explanation was that the boys had their shots from a different “tray”. Does this explanation even sound possible to you? I can’t stop crying. If the breeder gave her away to someone else, I could tolerate that more than thinking my baby is dead.

  39. Jan Says:

    Linda, your situation is shocking but way too common. Your vet should have known not to vaccinate a 7 week old puppy. Experts say 9 weeks is the youngest. And the vet should have refused. Together, they killed the dogs. I wonder what horrible combo vaccines they gave?

    Please find a more educated breeder. Or find a puppy who needs rescuing. Here’s some info about vaccinating:

    Oh, you asked if it could have been a vaccine from a different tray that caused the problem. Ask the breeder to report the deaths to the drug maker. She should want to do this. Maybe she could be reimbursed.

    Even if it were a bad batch, which is rare, the pups were vaccinated too young. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  40. Vaccination : ce que votre vétérinaire ne vous dira pas – Au Nom du Chien Says:

    […] Vaccinating small dogs : risks vets aren’t revealing – Jan Rasmusen […]

  41. Gail A. Passmore Says:

    This information is very necessary for all the pet owners. Thanks a lot. I recommended everyone to read this article.

  42. Paul Smith Says:

    We had an 11-year-old Chihuahua Pomeranian mix named Poncho that was very healthy before I took him to the Veterinarian to get his Rabies Vaccination. That was in February of 2017. From that point on his health started to decline. We took him back to the Imlay City Vet because he was not eating and was acting Lethargic. The doctor said he had Pancreatitis caused by the food he was eating. She would not admit that the Rabies vaccine could have something to do with his condition. She told us that he needed to be on fluids and that we could leave him there but no one would be there to watch him at night. We did not think he should be alone so, that evening we took him to the Wilson Vet Hospital in Romeo. They did blood work on him and said that he was in complete kidney failure NOT Pancreatitis. Doctor Wilson told us we should just “put him down” (So Cold Hearted) because we would need to give him fluids at home and we would not be able to do it because he was too mean. If the Doctor saying that did not wrench our hearts enough, while he was in there one of the interns fractured Poncho’s jaw trying to give him oral medicine. No one at the Wilson Veterinary Hospital apologized or claimed responsibility for what happened to his jaw. They did do x-rays on his jaw free but Geez that is the least they could do. They charged us for the rest of it, though, around $700.00
    I never knew about the Titer test. The Vets never told me about it and I think if Poncho would have had it, it would have saved his life. The shot he got was directly responsible for his death. I blame the Veterinarian’s for not giving us the option to get this Titer (Tighter) test. He was too small of an animal to have all those vaccinations in him. Poncho was like a baby to us and our hearts are broken because he is gone. We lost him August 14, 2017. A part of us is gone forever. The general public should know about the Titer test. It might save their pets life. I have to live every day knowing I will never see him or hold him again. I blame it on the Rabies shot, it destroyed his kidneys and ended his life.

  43. Jan Says:

    Paul, I’m so sorry for your loss. If it makes you feel any better, The Law won’t accept a titer for the rabies vaccine. It should! Did your dog have any other vaccines at the same time? That would be bad.

    Please report the vaccine reaction to the manufacturer, even if the vet won’t admit it. And report the veterinary cruelty of breaking your dog’s jaw to your state vet board. The least that should happen is that the vet is embarrassed. They won’t offer satisfaction but do it anyway. And see if your local media will help.

  44. Tersia van Eeden Says:

    The vet gave my small Maltese of 6 kg 1 Nobivac TRL, 1 Nobivac DHPPI at the same time. My doggie started grumming at me 3 hours of immunizations and didn’t want to eat for 3 days. I took him to vet but now the vet says it was sick already. Thais a lie my Maltese was never sick since the day it was born 8 years ago. it only got sick after immunization 4 days ago on 4 .12.17. Please help

  45. Jan Says:

    Tersia, your vet is either lying or ignorant. And your dog shouldn’t have gotten all those vaccines in the first place.

    Please read Don’t just think this will take care of itself. It won’t.

    Next time, please read this before vaccinating. And tell your friends.

    Good luck.

  46. Stacey B Says:

    We took our very healthy, happy, loving (Love of our Life) 4 year old female Chihuahua/Maltese mix dog into the Vet for a nail trim and were told she needed her Rabies shot, I was apprehensive as she is only 5# and our Everything, but was told it was a state requirement, so we proceded. I asked about side effects and was told she we would be sleepy, and possibly have soreness at the add site of injection, but likely no other problems, but was given no information to read and I just knew I should have been more proactive and cautious due to her small size.

    Well, she was sleepy, and then that night she had a 3 minute seizure (only 2 other time in her 4 years has she ever had a seizure due to hypoglycemia) so gave her a small amount of sugar and Pedialyte as before. The next day we could tell she had soreness in her hind end as expected, but by the next day she could barely walk, and was in considerable pain and wanted nothing to do with us, nor food and water. I did continue to give her Pedialyte by mouth, but getting her to the potty pad was difficult because she was unable to walk, felt feverish, and would yelp if we touched her, she was so stiff in pain and so guarded, isolating herself from us, it was awful and I was afraid she was going to die. Her urine was a bright yellow/green, and had a horrible chemical smell. After a week, she slowly improved, but the chemical smell in both her urine and stool was very strange, like you could tell that she was eliminating all of the chemicals from her system. It was 4 weeks before she began returning to the dog we once had, as she was no longer interested in playing with her ball, which she normally lives for, she slept so much of the time, and she just didn’t have her normal zest for life as she once had.

    Well, I feel she is nearly back to her normal self, but the one strange thing that has come from this is that she like all dogs just loves to be scratched, but now when we do scratch her back, her legs start a moving like you’ve got “just that right spot”, but excessively, Way Way more then ever before, almost if you were to continue to scratch her she would go into a seizure or something. It’s like the Rabies shot has awakened the nerves in her hind or her nervous system or something! This doesn’t seem to bother her, but it does freak out my over protective husband, for sure! Plus, she used to be an extremely fussy/picky eater, and now she has a voracious appetite and will wolf down her food without prompting her through each meal.

    The one thing I didn’t do (but definitely should have), was to take her to the Vet to be evaluated on any of this. I am a Nurse, and I do know my pup best, and have kept her healthy to date, I do know and understand the signs and symptoms to watch for, and I do a lot of internet reading on my breed of dog and all the quirky things that can go wrong with them. I read extensively on the subject but unfortunately did not find this site in the initial days!

    I do intend on reporting all of the symptoms that occurred to date, and will never allow her to get another Rabies vaccination in the future, that’s for sure, but do you have any idea about this “awakening” of her Central Nervous System? It’s very strange but I’m not overly concerned about it.

    One question, can I be reported or prosecuted for not giving her the Rabies shot, or what can they do if you Refuse?

    Thank you so much for your helpful articles! I’ve learned the most from this one than any other, with So many other references to read on to from here! Sincerely, Stacey B

  47. Nancy Says:

    For small Yorky what vaccinations should I get her.

  48. Jan Says:

    Nancy, how old is your Yorkie? Did she have puppy shots?

    If your dog had shots, she may not need any. You can do a titer test instead. Read and

    If she’s still a puppy, write back.

  49. Ruby Says:

    I recently purchased a little Maltese and she is 6 months old she weighs three and a half pounds. I was told that a rabies shot could kill her. Maltese are very sensitive to rabies shots I had one and almost lost her twice. What can I do how do I handle this I live in a senior apartment complex and they require that you have a rabies shot please help me I need your help I don’t want to lose this puppy thank you

  50. Jan Says:

    Ruby, you are right to worry. Rabies is a brutal vaccine for small dogs. Actually all vaccines are problematic.
    You need a holistic vet to help you. It’s unlikely you can avoid vaccinating but a truly holistic vet can help. Also read

    Beware any vaccines. Learn about titer testing.

    Wish I had better news but there is none.

Leave a Comment