What to Do When Your Dog Has a Vaccine Reaction

Written by Jan on December 2, 2010 – 1:32 pm

IS THIS AN EMERGENCY?  If your dog is breathing heavily, his face is swelling and eyes watering, and/or he’s vomiting, has hives or is having a seizure or collapsing, your dog is having a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. CALL YOUR VET IMMEDIATELY! and start for your vet’s office or an emergency facility while, preferably, someone else drives.  (You do know where the nearest emergency vet is, don’t you?)

Your vet may not recognize your dog’s symptoms as a vaccine reaction and probably won’t want to believe or admit that the shot he/she administered brought on this problem.  If you believe it’s a vaccine reaction, be strong. You know your dog better than your vet does. Above all, keep your wits about you. Don’t be pressured into doing anything that doesn’t feel right. For example, if your dog has her first seizure ever soon after vaccination, she is probably having a vaccine reaction; she probably does NOT suddenly have a brain tumor requiring a $800 MRI!  As they say, when you hear hoof beats, think horses not zebras! 

Similarly, if your vet wants to give your dog antibiotics because she may have developed some unknown infection  the day after the shot (rather than a vaccine reaction), question that assumption. Antibiotics given needlessly can lead to antibiotic resistance and even autoimmune disease, and will destroy good intestinal flora which can potentially lead to gastrointestinal problems and allergies. Vets (and medical doctors) too often recommend antibiotics because they don’t know what else to do and feel they should do something.  Insist on a good evidence-based reason for giving any antibiotic.

If you’re having an emergency, read about CPR or scroll down to Treatment.

Pet CPR:  If your dog isn’t breathing, you’ll need to take action fast.  Here’s an instructional video on pet CPR .  Also see these written instructions which you can print out.

Non-immediate reactions:  If your dog has developed any unexplained health or behavioral problem within 45 to 60 days of vaccination, or even longer, it may be a reaction to the shot.  If you suspect the problem may be connected to a vaccine, you’ll likely have to convince your vet. It’s common to hear “it couldn’t be the shot” or “a reaction like that isn’t possible” — even when the reaction is a common one.

Many primary vets believe vaccine reactions to be rare, in large part because severe cases go to emergency clinics, not back to the primary vet.  The World Small Animal Veterinary Association, WSAVA (p. 55), says: “It is generally only the adverse reactions that occur within the first few hours to a day after vaccination that are considered vaccine-associated by most veterinarians or owners. Even when the adverse reaction occurs shortly after vaccination there are many who fail to recognize that the vaccine caused the reaction. Certain adverse vaccine reactions are not observed until days, weeks or even months and years after vaccination or revaccination. The autoimmune disorders and the injection site sarcomas, which are among the rare vaccine adverse reactions, may not develop for years after being triggered by vaccines.”

Even the drug’s manufacturer (to whom you should immediately report the reaction) may deny the connection. (Admitting it may cost them money.)  If your dog got a rabies vaccination plus another vaccine of any kind, make sure you know where on the body the different shots were given and the name and serial number of each shot. This is especially important if your dog got a rabies shot.

Insist on seeing every product’s package insert. Get it from your vet or call the manufacturer and ask if it’s viewable on-line. (It probably is, but they won’t admit it. Note: the Material Safety Data  Sheet, or MSDA, is not the same thing.) Also know that long-term reactions aren’t usually documented or even studied. So persevere! A suspected vaccine reaction, especially one supported by your vet, may entitle you to compensation for medical expenses from the drug manufacturer.

Which dogs are most likely to have reactions?  Small and medium-sized dogs are the most likely, especially when given more than one vaccine at a time. (DALPPC, a common “combo shot,” contains SIX vaccines! If your vet gives rabies or Bordetella at the same time, that’s EIGHT!)  For more about this, read my article about a study published in the American Veterinary Medical Association Journal showing the connection between multiple vaccines and reactions. (Give your vet a copy.) Note: multiple vaccines also make it difficult to figure out which vaccine caused the reaction. Just one of countless good reasons not to allow them!  (Wait at least three weeks between shots and pesticides like heartworm meds.)

Dogs vaccinated when they are not healthy, dogs with previous adverse reactions to vaccines and dogs vaccinated within three weeks of a previous vaccination are also more likely to react adversely. Read this article on Protecting Dogs from Vaccine Reactions to find other ways you or your vet may have put your dog at risk.

How prevalent are reactions?   The USDA/CVB 2008 Report states that “Rabies vaccines are the most common group of biological products identified in adverse event reports received by the CVB.”  In 2007, 6500 reactions were reported for the canine rabies vaccine alone.  Unfortunately, former FDA commissioner David Kessler estimated that only 1% of all drug reactions are ever reported (even for human reactions). Thus, approximately 650,000 rabies vaccine reactions likely occurred.  Add to that more than a dozen other vaccines also causing reactions. Worse yet, long-term reactions are seldom even recognized let alone reported.

What reactions are commonly seen?  Common rabies vaccine reactions, followed by the percentage of reactions reported to the USDA (many of which are also reactions to other vaccines): Vomiting-28.1%; facial swelling-26.3%; injection site swelling or lump-19.4%; lethargy-12%; urticaria(hives)-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%.  (Oddly, they don’t list seizures which may occur after rabies vaccination. Click here for more on seizures.)

Other reactions 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%).

Also see the chart on page 54 of the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines (which lists seizures.)

What to Do If You Suspect Your Dog is Having a Vaccine Reaction

1.  Get treatment!

In emergencies: Most dogs will get emergency treatment from a conventional vet — often from an emergency facility veterinarian you don’t know.  The vet will likely administer steroids and an antihistamine.  These are the conventional treatments of choice.  Most important at this point is to save your dog’s life.  Note: Unless there is a good evidence-based reason for your dog to get antibiotics, consider whether or not this is a wise course of action.

If you have a relationship with a holistic vet and can get immediate treatment, you will probably be offered homeopathy and/or acupuncture — which unlike steroids and antihistamines have no harmful side effects.

Non emergencies and long-term treatment: If possible, find a vet trained in homeopathy to treat your dog — to “clear” the bad effects of the vaccine rather than just suppress symptoms. See these vet referral lists  If you can’t find a good vet, or can’t afford one, contact me for other experts you can contact.  The rabies vaccine alone can cause blood disease, autoimmune disease and more. Find a list of rabies vaccine reactions here.

Watch your dog carefully for new or worsened symptoms. Report all changes to your vet.  If the symptoms are visual, take photograph or videotape what is happened.

2. Document everything!  Make sure all vets treating your dog record any reaction in detail (even a mild one) in your dog’s file. Ask the vet to sign the notation about the reaction. Vets retire, move and lose files. Keep a copy of the file in a safe place along with any photos or video.

If the reaction was to the rabies vaccine, you’ll want to ask your vet to apply for a medical exemption when the shot is due again.  Ask the vet to write a letter now to use later. If the reaction is to any other vaccine, you may want to get an exemption from groomers and boarders who require  other vaccines — most if not all of which are unnecessary.  (Please read our page on vaccinating before you give another shot of any kind.  And check your state’s rabies law and also your local Animal Control to see if local exemption options differ.)

3. Call the vaccine manufacturer.  Get the vaccine brand, serial number and lot number from the vet who administered the vaccine to report to the manufacturer (who in turn is legally required to report the reaction to the USDA).  Ask your vet to report the reaction but don’t expect that he or she will. The 2006 American Hospital Association Canine Vaccine Task Force Report pleads with vets, page after page, to report reactions — because they seldom do. Vets either don’t link the health or behavior problem to the vaccine … or they can’t be bothered.  Thus, reactions go unrecognized and reported, and dangerous vaccines stay on the market.

If the vaccine can be proven to be at fault, you may be able to recover your expenses from the manufacturer. Reporting is in your best interests.

If, tragically, your dog dies or has to be put down, ask the manufacturer if they’ll pay for a necropsy (autopsy). If they won’t pay, but it’s pretty clear that the vaccine caused the dog’s death, you might want to pay for it yourself (if you can) and then go after the manufacturer for reimbursement. This is especially important with injection-site tumors.

4. Report the Reaction to the USDA  Go to the USDA animal vaccine reaction reporting page  to view information on reporting adverse events. The reporting form can be accessed from that page and submitted electronically, or it can be mailed or faxed to the Center for Veterinary Biologics. Or call the CVB at (800) 752-6255.

Why should you bother?  The only way for the USDA to track drug reactions is by receiving reports from vets, pet owners and manufacturers. Theoretically, if enough reactions are reported, the drug can be recalled.

5. Report your vet.

If your vet didn’t advise you before vaccination about possible reactions, or let you know if the vaccine was even necessary, file a report with your state veterinary medical association.  In some states, they’ll tell you if your vet has a history of negligence. In others, they won’t tell you anything. Filing a report can result in no action being taken, so be prepared to be disappointed. But do it anyway. Multiple complaints can make a difference.

Wait until you’ve gotten everything you need from your vet before filing the complaint. Also, fire that vet and tell him or her why.  Click here to find a list of vets with holistic and/or homeopathic experience to treat your dog in the future.

6. Take More Action.  If your vet’s behavior was particularly negligent and harmful, especially if the vet is with a large corporate practice, consider contacting your state’s Attorney General and/or a local television consumer reporter and/or the Better Business Bureau. Laws are changing because consumers have taken action.

7.  Stop vaccinating unnecessarily. Your vet should have told you before vaccinating that parvovirus (one “P” in DALPPC) lasts 9 years to a lifetime; the same with distemper (D). The L, leptospirosis, shouldn’t be given to a small dog unless there’s an epidemic. C, Coronavirus, is for a very mild, rare disease of very young puppies. It’s often called a vaccine looking for a disease.  A is for adenovirus 2, a disease virtually unknown in North America. Read more about your vet’s duties to get your informed consent.

Additional articles of interest: Vaccinating Dogs: 10 Steps to Eliminating Unnecessary Shots and see how long vaccines give immunity here under Point #6.
Rabies Vaccination: 13 Ways to Vaccinate More Safely
Vaccinating Small Dogs: Risks Vets Aren’t Revealing
Protecting Dogs From Vaccine Reactions
How to Report Vaccine Reactions
Questions to Ask Before Vaccinating


Get Our Vaccination DVD: W. Jean Dodds, DVM and Ronald D. Schultz, PhD spoke at our Safer Pet Vaccination Benefit Seminar in March 2010. A DVD of the event is available. Buy it at http://www.dogs4dogs.com/New%20Shopping%20Cart/Check%20out%20page.htm Or learn more about it at http://www.dogs4dogs.com/saferpet. Learn more about rabies vaccination at www.truth4dogs.org and about vaccination in general at http://www.dogs4dogs.com/shots and at http://www.truth4dogs.com.

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Posted under Rabies Shots, Uncategorized, Vaccination, Vaccine Reactions, Veterinarians | 199 Comments » Email This Post

199 Comments to “What to Do When Your Dog Has a Vaccine Reaction”

  1. Jan Says:

    Estelle, I’m so sorry for your loss. Please call the drug manufacturer and raise hell. Make sure they record the reaction and tell them you want compensation for the loss of your dog.

    If you let me know the circumstances of the reaction, I’ll try to help. Find out what vaccine was given — lot #, brand, etc. Find out what other medications were given, if any. Get a copy of your dog’s file.

    Vaccines are for healthy dogs only, and your vet and the manufacturer know this. You should sue your vet in small claims court and report him/her to your state board.

    Show this careless vet that killing someone’s dog is not okay.

  2. Estelle Says:

    Dutch was 3 years old. I took him to the Vet last Friday for a check up, I obviously thought I was doing good by that. The dr. said he had a g.i. infection and also gave him a rabies shot. The following day he pretty much laid around, later that evening he had 3 back to back seizures… but the day I took him to the doctor he was fine. I called the vet and they told me that dogs do not die from rabies vaccines or that he did not have too much phenobartital. They said he probably had a brain tumor or stroke. Both the Emergency Hospital and vet said the exact same thing. Can you help me move forward on this. I can email you a copy of my dogs file.

  3. Gabby Louise Says:

    First of all: sorry for my english but I need to share my experience here…
    I have a Shitzu and she is 5kg and 14 months now
    She had 4 vaccines in the same day
    On the next day she started to only sleep, didnt want to eat or drink, she had a sad look and thats all… more 3 days she vomited and continued only sleeping…
    well, after 4 days i got really worried.. she was breathing really strange..
    I decided to call the vet who did it and he said she probably ate something bad, that its wasnt the vaccines…
    I couldnt belive… but after 5 days he did a blood exam and he said she is sick and gave her a medicine to make the immunity system stronger..
    after 1 week now she is eating and playing with my cat again..
    but it really scared me because I saw a lot of people saying they lost their pets.. she really was scaring me with that behavior… i didnt know if she was ever getting better again… it seemed she wanted to die..

    Well.. the reason why i am writing is to ask about how i should decide in future:
    I like this vet she is going now.. he treated my other dog who was 17 years old and I think he was good for her… but I dont like that a vet can just deny that what happened was cause of the vaccine…
    Do you think I should go for another vet who has more conscience about this problem with little dogs?
    and if not, if I stay with him, should I ask next time for only one vaccine in the next time? To have a 1 month break to the next vaccine?
    Whats the best decision?
    I dont want that this happens again to my little dog… I wanna do the right thing now… and I cant trust really vaccines but she will need again and I know it…


  4. Jan Says:

    Gabby, the vet who denied that your dog was having a vaccine reaction is not one I’d use. A study of vaccine reactions in 1.5 million dogs, published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, showed that giving more than one vaccine at a time greatly increased the chance of reactions in small dogs. Please read http://truth4pets.org/2012/06/vaccinating-small-pets/

    Also read http://truth4pets.org/question-before-vaccination/ and see if you dog even needed vaccinating in the first place. Probably not.

    Write again if you need more help. Good luck.

  5. Irene Corman Says:

    Hi, I have a 4 1/2 year old Airedale who has had seizures from age 2 1/2, diagnosed as “idiopathic”. She is not medicated based on the frequency of occurrence. She has, in the past, had gastro issues and is a dog who is strong but has seemed more susceptible than normal to issues. She had “puppy” shots but did not have the booster at one year, due to gastric issues at that time. She did have the rabies at an earlier point but since and will not be having it.
    We have been told her other vaccines should be updated. We had her titred and she has antibodies to parvo but not to distemper. I see the research regarding not vaccinating epileptic dogs. What is the alternative? Thanks so much for all your work.

  6. katherine de guzman Says:

    I have a 4-month old shih tzu. She was recently vaccined (Canine Distemper-Adenovirus Type 2-Parainfluenza-Parvovirus Vaccine). On the ninth day after being vaccined, we noticed that she has difficulty in moving. She did not eat nor drink and has fever. We brought her to vet,the doctor said it was because of phlegm forming inside her body and shot her with antibiotic, med for fever, and another med for her to spit out her phlegm. She was also dextrosed. We took her home and for 3 days now, we’ve been going home and back to vet while she has dextrose. On her 3rd day (she’s in our house again, and still has dextrose) she has difficulty in moving and breathing. Still hasnt eat and drink. She has blood-like poop (red brown in color) and vomits white sticky liquid (her plhegm maybe) We brought her to vet and the vet said that shes much better now than before (yesterday) because her gums arent pale anymore but im still worried because she seems to go back in her previous state. Her fever was already gone that time but still wont eat, drink and respond. Her 4th day, the vet shot her earlier with anitbiotic and for her cold, we brought her home at the evening, still with dextrose. Her 5th day today, (6AM) She can’t stand/move totally, doesnt bark, doesnt eat and drink,, still has dextrose, vomits still sticky white liquid, still poops blood-like stools. We’re crying now, we want to let her go because she’s very weak now, she seems to have seizures, we don’t know if shes dying or wants to stand up. We don’t know what to do. We are scheduled to go to vet later but we’re planning not to go back anymore because it seems to be no help and she’ll just be shot again with meds that i dont know if will do her good.

  7. katherine de guzman Says:

    *make her better.

    I don’t know if it’s part of her recovery process or she really is becoming weak. She still has dextrose now. We don’t know what to do. We’re at her side now and crying. Please help.

  8. katherine de guzman Says:

    She just makes small sounds and we really see that she’s fighting her sickness to survive.

  9. Jan Says:

    Irene, I believe it would be dangerous to vaccinate your dog with any vaccine. Please read this: http://truth4pets.org/question-before-vaccination/ Whoever told you to “update shots” is ill informed. Your dog likely has immunity to distemper of she would have gotten it. It’s everywhere. You might want to look into nosodes. http://www.charlesloopsdvm.com He’ll consult by phone.

    Good luck!

  10. Jan Says:

    Katherine, I’m so sorry that I didn’t read your post until now. What is happening with your dog? I’m hoping she got better.

  11. don hoemmelmeyer Says:

    MY 6 YR OLD PIT BULL ROXIE WENT TO VET IN CINCY OH ON 10/03/14 AND GOT EXAM AND DHHP VACCINATION .Vet also suggested leptospororsis vaccine since I take her in woods and around water,On 10/24/14 she received second leptospororsis shot.On10/27/14 I came home took her for walk and fed her and other dog for the night. one 1/2 hr later she vomited only once.about 45min later I tried to take them out for the last time .She didnt want to go go and seemed lethargic and I thought she just caught a bug.20min later was having trouble breathing and went into shock.She died on front seat on way to 24hr vet.My son mentioned it could have been the shot.The vet said any reaction would have happened in 1 to 3 hrs.they never mentioned the risk out way the benefit and and it shouldnt be given with other vaccines.

    They said she likely died of something else and advised not to do a necropsy because they are only 50% accurate and offered no other cooperation.I thought more was better.Better is less please be care full .vaccines especially leptospororsis vaccine can kill your dog. My dog was never sick like this beforeand I had had never seen a dog go so fast.I even had a dog with cancer on Chemo for
    1 and 1/2 yrs and she passed 07/31/14 and I had to put her to sleep. Vaccines can kill. Don in Cincinnati. please email me back at dhoemmelmeyer @roadrunner.com. She was an Angel

  12. don hoemmelmeyer Says:

    Has anyone else seen similar problem in pit bull vaccination ? My cockapoo lived to be 18 in the 80s and now I feed them nothing but Iams and fresh pet select.back then we only got vaccinations every 3yrs and he even lived through pancraeitus.

  13. Jan Says:

    Don, I’m so sorry for your loss, and your vet’s terrible behavior. Vaccine reactions can happen at any time and your vet should know it. About forgoing the necropsy, that’s to protect the vet and the vaccine maker. Also, a six-your-dog did not need a DHPP vaccine. And lepto is know to be dangerous.

    You might want to read this: http://truth4pets.org/question-before-vaccination/

    And this: http://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2011/12/17/why-vets-dont-recognize-vaccine-reactions/

    And fire the vet.

  14. Julie Gamboa Says:

    I have an 8 month old Labradoodle puppy who developed a “mysterious” and “infectious” illness in January 2015, with high fever, dehydration, lethargy, one episode of vomiting, loss of appetite, depression. He was hospitalized and had multiple tests to rule out a bowel obstruction. He was placed on IV antibiotics and IV fluids, had a temp of 106 and his white cell count was 26,000. Within 24 hrs, he was back to normal. Until last Saturday, when it started all over again-fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting. Again, he was poked and prodded, put through many tests to rule out bowel obstruction AGAIN. Tests were all normal. I finally took him to a specialty hospital in Denver, where he was admitted and diagnosed with “immune mediated meningitis” and placed on Prednisone and Doxyclycline.
    My question is two fold: 1. Which vaccine is most likely to cause immune mediated meningitis and 2. Should I withhold all further vaccines due to a risk of further vaccine reactions?
    Thank you for any help you can offer. This problem sounds like it will be chronic, all because I was not educated by my vet.

  15. Jan Says:

    Julie, you didn’t say which vaccines your dog had or when. Or how soon the symptoms started. Vaccines likely to cause reactions are numerous.

    Why would you even think of vaccinating again. Adult dogs don’t need puppy shots. You dog is likely immune to the important diseases. Please read http://truth4pets.org/question-before-vaccination/ and http://truth4pets.org/2012/06/titer-testing/

    Also, if you weren’t educated by your vet, or warned about possible reactions, find another vet!

  16. Sue Says:

    My love-able, energetic, active Havanese went in for a well-visit last Wednesday, 2/18. He received a clean bill of health – great weight, muscle, tone, etc. He was given the following vaccines at this visit: DA2PP, Lyme, and Bordetella (nose). We were told he could be a bit tired, so for the next few days, we attributed his behavior to the side-effects of the vaccines. By Sunday, 2/22, he wasn’t eating, throwing up after drinking water, and only got out of bed to go outside and relieve himself. We brought him Monday morning 2/23 back to the vet where he stayed through Tuesday early evening. He was dehydrated, low blood pressure, low body temperature…and diagnosed with Addison’s Disease. We are told he will be on medication for the rest of his life. We are still trying to get back the personality of the dog that left our house on 2/18 for his appointment. When I asked the doctor, “If he has Addison’s Disease, why did he never display any symptoms his entire life until after Wednesday (the day of his vaccines)?” The doctor replied, “He didn’t have Addison’s prior to Wednesday”. We are being told the vaccine had nothing to do with it.

  17. Jan Says:

    Sue, wellness checks by many vets, especially in large practices, are anything but.

    Have you reported the reaction to the drug maker and USDA? This is very important. http://truth4pets.org/reporting-reactions/

    And find a new vet. Your small breed dog got six vaccines at once. Worse yet, he likely received six vaccines he didn’t need. http://truth4pets.org/question-before-vaccination/ Each additional vaccine more than one increases the chance of a reaction by 25%. Write again and I’ll send you the nationally publicized study — ignored by too many vets. http://truth4pets.org/2012/06/vaccinating-small-pets

    Don’t let the vet who caused the problem, and denies the cause, treat your dog. A holistic vet is your best vet. http://truth4pets.org/vets/

    Don’t be sad. Get mad. Try to get the manufacturer of the vaccines to pay for your dog’s treatment.

  18. Sue Says:

    Thank you, Jan, for our reply. Roscoe was back in the vet this morning receiving more IV fluid. We picked him up this evening, presented the vet with a link to the “Adverse events diagnosed within three days of vaccine administration in dogs” abstract (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16220670), highlighting the statistics about the risks for neutered dogs under 20 pounds receiving multiple vaccines.

    Roscoe is a bit more energetic, but we will be taking him in the morning to another vet that came highly recommended to me by somebody who is in the field and understands the dangers of combo vaccines. He is still not our Roscoe from nine days ago – pre vaccine.

    Roscoe’s OLD vet said he had reported the reaction to the manufacturer and the manufacturer (Zoetis) said they were reporting to the USDA. We will be reporting to the manufacturer and USDA as well…our main focus right now is getting Roscoe healthy.

    Thanks again.

  19. Jan Says:

    Sue, please let me know what happens. And make sure you follow up on the reporting. It is estimated that only 1% of reactions to HUMAN vaccines are ever reported.

  20. Sue Says:

    Hi Jan. Just returned from the animal hospital for our second opinion. The doctor said that if they were to have done the ACTH stimulation test PRIOR to vaccinating, it would have showed Roscoe had Addison’s Disease. She said it was definitely the vaccines that were the stressors that triggered the Addisonian Crisis that almost killed him. He is on the mend now, but told it will take time before all his levels are back to normal. Happy that it appears we are on the uphill climb, but really wish I cold have prevented the need for this climb by reading your articles sooner. There is SO much information out there on the internet, but it was your articles that presented everything so clearly. I am now no longer vaccine-ignorant and will spread your message of vaccine dangers through all my social networks. Thank you.

  21. Kelli Radford Says:

    My dog Donna a small pug and dachshund dapple mix. My baby! Went in for her update on vaccines and she got the combo and 2 weeks later she was causing a commotion under my bed while I slept and I thought she was just playing. the next day I got home from work and she was hiding where she would usually greet me with happiness, so I found her by flipping the couch over and immediately she had a severe seizure so I rushed her back to the vet and on the 5 minute drive there she had 3 more and 2 while waiting for the vet. I was an absolute mess. My $25.00 dog turned into a $1000.00 debt and an overnight stay at an animal hospital and then she still died the next day because the medicine they were giving her was “stopping ” the seizures but it was doping her up. You could look her in the eyes and see that she was still having seizures and then I went in the next day to a call saying she was no longer responding. I had to put my baby down! I remember them coming out with her wrapped in a blanket and her eyes were closed, as soon as I spoke to her to tell her goodbye she opened her eyes to see me one last time and to know she wasn’t alone, and 2 minutes later she died in my arms. It was the worst thing I have ever experienced and now I worry to take my new babies in a dachshund half aussie mix and a purebred corgie. My corgie has his first shots but I still worry. I don’t want to go through this again.

  22. Jan Says:

    Kelli, I’m so sorry for your loss. Please report your dog’s death to the maker of the vaccine and tell them you want to be reimbursed for vet bills. They probably won’t do it, but sometimes they will if your vet is on board. Make sure your vet reports the death as well. BTW, a dachshund/pug mix would be especially prone to a reaction after multiple shots at once. Find a better vet. http://truth4pets.org/2012/06/vaccinating-small-pets/

    Aside from rabies, adult dogs rarely need vaccinating. Please read this: http://truth4pets.org/question-before-vaccination/ And this: http://truth4pets.org/2012/06/titer-testing/ They will help you with your decisions re your other dogs.

    Please write again if you need more help.

  23. Terri Soberekon Says:

    Hi, on March 19th I took my 2yr old Shih Tzu- Chihuahua to be neutered. He also received his booster vaccinations and rabies, he had one last year too. They also gave antibiotics because they said he urinated on the table. The first two days he seemed ok, considering everything. Then he started vomiting for 2 days, clear white, foamy stuff. Since then, he’s had diarrhea. I called Spay OK, they told me, ” just follow discharge instructions “. I stopped the antibiotics, been giving him pepto, pedialyte and rice water mixed with some baby food. Do you think the whole shots, antibiotic mix has caused this ?

  24. Janice Says:

    My 5 lb., 15 yr. old Italian Greyhound received a rabies shot yesterday and became extremely sick. When we got home she vomited her stomach contents (colored yellow), then vomited yellow foam. She then started getting welts all over her face. I raced to the drug store and bought children’s Benadryl without alcohol (rite-aid brand).

    She is better now but I am so angry. She received the same dose dogs as a 90 lb. dog. She actually did not need the shot in the first place as she is an inside dog, except for sitting in the porch on warm days. She no more needed a rabies shot than the man in the moon. We went to a rabies clinic for the shot this time. I am going to report this to the phone # above, I could not get the link to the report form to work for me. I am also going to complain to my township who requires the rabies shot for licensing. I knew to use Benadryl because she has had reactions before, first time when she ate a bee as a young dog, she was rushed to the vet. Next round of yearly shots she had same kind of reaction, rushed back to vet, antidote given all well.

    Her sight hound vet said no more for her so no further problems with shots until we went to a new vet who insisted we give her those group shots … even when I told him her other vet said NO, he gave it to her anyway with antidote given after shot. Regardless of that she had a reaction and I let him know how angry I was. How nice he made my dog sick in order to pocket 40 bucks !!! I am seriously thinking after reading here to complain in a letter even thought it is 3 yrs later, it makes my blood boil. Thank you for the information here, I am much smarter now.

  25. Jan Says:

    Terri, I am not a vet, but I know that dogs should never be vaccinated when undergoing surgery. Every manufacturer of vaccines will tell you that. And your adult dog probably didn’t need the boosters anyway! Please read this: http://truth4pets.org/2012/06/vaccinating-small-pets/ And this: http://truth4pets.org/question-before-vaccination/ All those vaccines given at once to such a small dog could have caused the reaction all by themselves. Shame on that vet!

    The idea of antibiotics because your dog urinated in bizarre. Antibiotics after surgery aren’t all that unusual, but are often given unnecessarily.

  26. Jan Says:

    Janice, that new vet is dangerous. I hope you have another vet now and that your dog is doing well. She is lucky to be alive.

  27. katie Says:

    I just got my German Shepard puppy 2 weeks ago, she has been so wonderful and fun, kind and smart. 3 days ago I took her in for her patio and distemper vaccinations, minutes after the shot she vomited, defficated and foamed at the mouth. Now, she has had almost 10 different episodes the same minus the vomiting, now when she has them she immediately starts freaking out after, screaming in pain. I am so scared and I don’t have any money. I just started a new job and I love this little girl with all my heart! I am so angry, I’ve stayed up with her, I can’t believe they did this to her. She was perfect before the shot, now I am afraid for her life!!

  28. Jan Says:

    Katie, your dog needs to see a vet. And please contact the drug maker to report the reaction. Maybe they’ll help. You have to have a record of what happened. Here’s some more info about vaccinating: http://truth4pets.org/question-before-vaccination/

  29. tamara Says:

    i have a question. my dog frequently urinate in a small amount after 8 in 1 vaccine. is that normal or not?

  30. Jan Says:

    Tamara, your dog should never, ever have 8 vaccines at once. You definitely need to find a vet with more current education. You’re very lucky if a little urine is the only reaction. Please read this: http://truth4pets.org/question-before-vaccination/ How’s your dohttp://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-formg doing today?

  31. Vaccine Reactions - HDFrenchBulldogs.com Says:

    […] If you think your dog is having a vaccine reaction or just to be prepared>> […]

  32. Victoria Bingham Says:

    What reactions are commonly seen? Common rabies vaccine reactions, followed by the percentage of reactions reported to the USDA (many of which are also reactions to other vaccines): Vomiting-28.1%; facial swelling-26.3%; injection site swelling or lump-19.4%; lethargy-12%; urticaria(hives)-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%. (Oddly, they don’t list seizures which may occur after rabies vaccination. Click here for more on seizures.) Unquote;

    Comment: At what point do we just let the animals live – without feeling the need to subject them to these appalling devastating health destroying interventions. Vaccines kill. Period.

  33. Carole Lang Says:

    Currently dealing with a 16 month Giant Schnauzer who is exhibiting symptoms that are reactionary to a rabies immunization given 4 months ago. He initially refused to eat and dropped weight from 90# to 75#. He became very lethargic and any appetite stimulants did nothing. Recently, he showed some lameness in his front paw and two days later exhibited beginnings or a rear-end paralysis. Since this past reaction,a couple of days ago, we are now awaiting the opportunity to visit an homeopathy veterinarian. Pray that this condition can be reversed.

    3 t

  34. Jan Says:

    Carole, make sure you report the reaction to the drug maker. Insist they pay for treatment and hope they will.

    Make sure you have a really good holistic vet. These days, holistic is a label a lot of no-holistic vets use. Many are ignorant. Here’s a list. http://www.truth4pets.org/vets

  35. Justin Says:

    I’ve recently been doing some remote haling work on canine vaccine reactions with some pretty strong results.

    I’ve been working with dogs that have permanent “tying up” type effects, stiffness, lameness, digestive disorders, lethargy, thyroid issues , tremors, seizures, ocular issues, swelling, vommiting, pain, – any of the long term issues related to vaccine reactions in the past.

    It may well also help more recent cases if you are having your animal treated and looking for help.

    I practice and study taoist meditation, medical qigong, and acupuncture and recently came across some interesting treatments. These treatments tested remotely are having great results in “unwinding” the condition. Remote healing is distant energetic healing, and it works by re-balancing the elemental imbalances that can be caused by vaccinations. In Chinese terms it all comes down to a balance of the 5 elements – and vaccinations are classified “extreme wood” element. Depending on birth date, every animal has a unique balance of these elements. In effect if an animal has a wood constitution, a water constitution, or a metal constitution – they can be far more adversely affected by vaccinations. In effect the “extreme wood” injection into a wood animal (most effected) causes an overabundance of wood in the system. This shock over-imbalance of wood causes the system to go into a “idiopathic response” which effectually can be seen as a clamp up and cramp up – both muscularly, tendons etc, but also in the blood, hormone function, personality, digestion etc. The wood, water, and metal dogs or any other animal (including humans) can be affected for their whole life becasue the body is trying to control the wood from overpowering the delicate balance in the system. Thus controlling the free flow of wood energy (liver) – making all of the functionality of the body homeostasis go into a deficit which must be released from the nervous system/energy body.

    I am open to seeing If I can help any animals that are experiencing vaccination reactions – or animals that still have related issues. If your animal had a reaction to vaccination – chances are the condition is being coped with by the animal.

    If you are interested please feel free to email me about your dogs condition – I am not a paid service – I would work on a pay what its worth to you basis only.


  36. Sandra Says:

    I’m watching my German Shorthair pup closely because I took her in today (she will be 13 weeks tomorrow) for her last puppy shots and told the tech I DID NOT want her to have a Rabies, and I would happily bring her back for it sometime after 16 weeks. I told her I would not allow her to have two jabs in one day, and I wanted the Rabies much later. She agreed, but then, without checking, stuck her with the Rabies instead of the puppy shot!

    I raised Cain and talked to the vet, but there is really nothing to do but watch her now. What should I expect if all is well? If it is not? She stuck her in the LEFT hind leg, is that an issue? When will it be safe for her to have her regular puppy shots now?

  37. Why Vets Don’t Recognize Vaccine Reactions Says:

    […] recognize a vaccine reaction and push your vet to consider a reaction if you suspect one. And read What to Do When Your Dog Has a Vaccine Reaction for help in treating your dog, reporting the problem and contacting the manufacturer to try to […]

  38. Jan Says:

    Sandra, if all is well short-term, your dog will act fine. Long-term, you’ll just have to wait and see.

    The rabies should have been in the RIGHT leg, but that won’t make much of a difference as long as you know where it was.

    Where are you in the shot cycle. When was the last one given? Which vaccines? How many? How old was your dog at the time exactly?

  39. Sandra Says:

    She was given her first vaccine by the breeder at 6 1/2 weeks, and the second by the vet at exactly ten weeks. I was planning to finish the series and then wait til 4-6 months to give her rabies, because we do live in an area where she could be exposed, but I wanted to make sure that when she received the vaccine, it would actually provide immunity. I also feel that she could have withstood the shot much better at 30-40 pounds that she can at 20.

    I don’t know what to do about the other vaccines now. How long do I need to wait to finish the series? We are not big on shots, but the scattergun approach seems the norm.

    I had a dog who, in retrospect, almost certainly had a vaccine reaction, and his immunity was compromised and he had health problems for all of his fifteen years. Our last dog developed a mast cell tumor at the site of a rattlesnake shot. We left it alone, thank God, and she lived comfortably for five more years, til she was nearly sixteen.

    I just want my pup to live a long healthy life, as God intended.

  40. Heather davis Says:

    Hi can someone please help me my mom has a pug Ringo he is 8 yrs old and my mom had his anual vaccines given a week and a half ago long with first of the flu vaccine my stepfather then took his dog to the vet he sees a week later and asked them to give ringo just the second shot of flu but they screwed up and gave him all the vaccines again last Monday last two days at my moms vet they have had him hooked up to Iv fluids he has been vomiting and diarrhea and lethargic my mom brought him home this evening but he does not seem well and he refuses to eat the homemade chicken broth with rice as well as the antibiotic and we are not sure what to do NOTHING can happen to him he is the sweetest boy!please can someone help with suggestions.oh and the vet that gave the second set of vaccines to him totally blew my mom off about it said it was no big deal that it isn’t why he got sick but we know it’s the vaccines

  41. Jan Says:

    No reputable vets give annual vaccines anymore to an adult dog. That would be like you getting measles shots every year. http://truth4pets.org/question-before-vaccination/

    Your best bet is to find another vet. First, get your dog’s file and make sure it is complete. Then report the reaction to the drug maker and insist they pay for treatment. They may or may not do this, but you need to try. You can also take the vet to small claims court. Threatening this to the vet may also help, as can reporting the vet to your state veterinary board. http://truth4pets.org/reporting-reactions/

    You’ll need a new vet to handle the health problems. Wish I could do more. Good luck.

  42. leanne Says:

    can i give my dog probiotics? he is having terrible red diarrhea from his rabies shot and the vet refuses to believe it is related!!!!

  43. Jan Says:

    Leanne, your vet is an idiot. Or protecting his …. Red diarrhea is not normal. Sounds like blood. If your vet won’t act, go to emergency. Yes you can give probiotics, but red diarrhea is serious.

  44. Arlette Hennessey Says:

    I am dealing with my 6 year old Brittany who has been at the vet for two weeks with her kidneys shutting down which her problems started the night she got the rabies shot she got a fever and then she about a day later seemed to do a little better but she was limping in the leg she got the shot in then she started to lose her appetite then about a week later she stopped eating and I took her back to the vet and got a call back the next day that her kidneys were shutting down
    So I rushed her back to the vet and use has been there for two weeks I am bringing her home tomorrow morning and praying that some homeopathic treatment might help since IV fluids and vet care isn’t pulling her out of this. My hopes aren’t to high but at least I want her to know she is loved and cared for

  45. Jan Says:

    Arlette, I wishing you the best. Make sure you report the reaction to the drug maker. They may at least pay for part of your dog’s care. Don’t let them off the hook.

    Where do you live? I may know a vet who can help. Good luck.

  46. Randy Says:

    110 pound American Bulldog received 3 vaccinations for boarding for 1 night. 2 days after the shots she started limping on front leg, then her left hip caused her to limp on that leg. Then the other front leg. I read about the Purdue Study and it says autoimmune to collegan was revealed and dogs became arthritic. Plus autoimmune to a bunch of things. I’m scared. He’s my life. I need a vet in NY to help him. Please direct me to a vet. I live near NYC in Westchester County.

    Thank you

  47. Jan Says:

    Randy, I hate that boarding facilities treat vaccines like they’re nothing. Clearly, they are.

    I don’t personally know any vets where you live — which is one of my favorite places. I used to ride horseback there.

    Anyway, check out the lists at http://www.truth4pets.org/vets. Make sure the vet who vaccinated reports the reaction to the drug maker and report it yourself. Ask them for help but don’t expect they’ll do anything. Also report it to the boarder. They need to understand the consequences of their actions.

    If a conventional vet recommends pain killers, research them first. They are another whole can of worms. Good luck.

    Sometimes these reactions are transient. Try not to worry; it will upset your dog.

  48. Kim Contino Says:

    My dog was vaccinated with the 3 year rabies shot and I believe the parvo one was not told if the dog was not feeling good not to had given the shots, she started getting a reaction,
    tired could not even walk outside, she was just lying on the floor would not eat or drink water, We brought her back to the small animal hospital in Buffalo, New York, Elmwood ave, they said she was diabetic, and gave her antibiotics, and said they cant do anything, she needs to b hospitalized, we brought her to emergency vet in Cheektowaga near the airport, they ran fluids on her, and said she may not even make it. They said she is starting her heat, and needed surgery, she had, paid 23,00 dollars, she made it out of surgery, she did not get any better, we tried everything, eventually, she passed away in the middle of the night Oct, 3 at age 7. Her name was sissy.

  49. Jan Says:

    Kim, I’m so sorry about Sissy. It was your vet’s responsibility to determine if your dog was healthy before vaccinating. It says so on the vaccine label.

    Please report your dog’s reaction to the vaccine maker. http://truth4pets.org/reporting-reactions/ You can also file a protest with the state veterinary board.

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