What Your Vet Hasn't Told You


Do Your Research Before Vaccinating
Your Dog

Do you think your dog is having a vaccine reaction? Please read:  

The only safe vaccine is one that is never used. -- Dr. James R. Shannon, former Director of the National Institute of Health, USA  


Vaccinating Dogs: What Your Vet Hasn't Told You
A Video


Thanks to veterinarians Jean Dodds, Margo Roman, Tamara Hebbler, Sue Pollen, Pat Jordan, Stephen Blake and others for answering my questions about vaccination and the vaccine bureaucracy.

 Purchase a DVD of Dr. Dodds speaking at the 2010 Safer Pet Vaccination and Health Care Seminar.  She spoke for more than 2 hours and answered questions on vaccination safety and managing and avoiding adverse reactions. Sign up for more information on the DVD and Program Guide at  All proceeds above a minimal shipping cost benefit the RabiesChallengeFund study of the rabies vaccine.

Have a question about vaccination? Your questions will likely be answered on this page or on our rabies vaccine page. If you still have a question, or wish to comment or post a story, post it as a comment at the bottom of any of my blog articles. (See them listed several paragraphs below.) We will respond there and my reply will also be e-mailed to you. (No slurs on any specific veterinarian please.) Posted questions are answered before e-mailed questions. (Note: I am a consumer advocate, not a veterinarian.)

If you want to know everything we've learned from years of research and interviews with vets, please read our national award-winning book: Scared Poopless: The Straight Scoop on Dog Care. It's fun, full of color photos and is packed with information.

Before you vaccinate:

1. Know that the annual vaccination notice from your vet is often a sales pitch to sell vaccines and other products your dog may not need. Go for the hands-on exam, but educate yourself before saying yes to shots or drugs. Tell your vet that you expect "informed consent" about why your dog needs the shots, what alternatives to vaccination exist and what are the possible side effect. This is for the vet's protection and yours. If your vet intimidates or ridicules you, find another vet or at least watch my two videos on evaluating and dealing with vets.

2. Read the articles on vaccination at my Truth4Dogs blog.  Or read specific articles by clicking these links. Be sure to bookmark them for future reference and forward to friends.

Protecting Dogs from Vaccine Reactions
Rabies Vaccination: How to Vaccinate More Safely
What to Do When Your Dog Has a Vaccine Reaction
Vaccinating Small Dogs: Risks Vets Aren’t Revealing
Combination Shots for Dogs: Weapons of Over-Vaccination
Is Your Dog’s Vet a Vaccination Expert?
Vaccinating Unhealthy Pets: Beware Reactions & Vaccine Failure
Vaccinating Dogs: 10 Steps to Eliminating Unnecessary
Titer Test: Don’t Vaccinate Your Dog Unnecessarily

Dog Flu Vaccine: Do You Really Need a Shot for the H3N8 Canine Virus?

Vaccinating a puppy or kitten? See Dr. Dodds' 2010 Canine Vaccination Protocol and 2010 Feline Vaccination Protocol from world-renowned pet vaccination expert W. Jean Dodds, DVM.


 Possible adverse reactions TO VACCINATION

Vaccines are known by scientists to cause serious adverse reactions many (but not all) of which are listed below:

Immediately or up to 3 days after the shot:

Facial swelling
Fever or lethargy
Circulatory shock
Loss of consciousness

Up to six weeks after the shot:

Fibrosarcomas (cancer) at the injection site
Seizures and Epilepsy
Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA)
Autoimmune diseases, including organ disease, allergies and skin problems
Chronic digestive problems
Muscle weakness, especially lack of hind end coordination
Chronic digestive disorders
Skin diseases 
Disease the vaccine was made to prevent
Post Vaccinal Encephalitis or polyneuritis
Behavior problems: aggression, destructive behaviors, separation anxiety and odd obsessive behaviors (like tail chasing and paw licking)

Click these links to learn more about adverse reactions:   Dr. Jean Dodds on Treating Adverse Vaccine Reactions Article about fibrosarcomas, skin diseases and more.  Some individuals and breeds are predisposed to adverse vaccine reactions.

*** Important: Report any reactions you believe might be linked to any shot to your vet immediately. Make sure it goes in your dog's file and get a copy. You may someday need to apply for a vaccination exemption.

Few of us are warned about these possible adverse effects, and even when our dog develops them, we are not made aware of the connection. The vet may not even recognize unexpected or rare reactions. Adverse reactions are seldom reported; all reporting is voluntary. A federal reporting system for all veterinary vaccines is needed. You can, and should, report reactions yourself.

Your veterinarian has a legal and ethical obligation to fully inform you about the risks and benefits of any vaccination. Read what an attorney and veterinarian has to say about a vet's obligation of Informed Consent.

"After more than twenty years of practicing veterinary medicine, I am observing chronic diseases that begin much earlier than before.  Cancer before five years of age in dogs and cats was a rarity, but now it is not unusual to see fatal cancers in two and three year old animals.  And the incidence or number of cases is definitely increasing. While poor breeding practices, poor commercial diets and other environmental factors play their part, I believe it is the practice of vaccinating an animal repeatedly, with multiple vaccinations throughout their lifespan that factors the most."  -- Dr. Charles Loop

small dogs and shotsSmall dog alert! Small dogs are more likely to experience adverse reactions, and shots containing multiple vaccines are more likely to cause adverse reactions according to renowned pet vaccine expert Dr. Jean Dodds.

DVM360 on-line magazine: "The likelihood of adverse reactions in dogs has been found to correlate with the size of the dog and the number of inoculations given, with higher risk associated with small size and multiple inoculations."  This means: no combo shots for small dogs -- or any other dogs for that matter. And NEVER GIVE ANY OTHER SHOT WITH A RABIES SHOT.  Wait at least three or four weeks between the rabies shot and other shots.

Read my article based on a study published in the AVMA Journal: Vaccinating Small Dogs: Risks Vets Aren’t Revealing

Dr. Richard Ford, member of the 2006 AAHA Canine Vaccine Task Force has said veterinarians are confused about how to vaccinate. He said, "he knew of one practice that had 15 vaccine protocols, clients and staff."

Which shots are most likely to produce adverse reactions?

Although any vaccine, including those your dog has previously gotten without incident, can cause an adverse reaction. Vaccines made with killed virus, however, are the most adversely reactive. This includes the rabies vaccine, Bordetella, Coronavirus, and Leptospirosis. Why? Because killed vaccines contain adjuvants (additives that "boost" the immune reaction). Live viruses don't need boosting. Fortunately, with the exception of rabies, these other shots are not recommended for all dogs. Also, they are seldom effective. Don't give them without good reason.

Our 2 hour DVD of world-renowned pet vaccination scientist Dr. Jean Dodds' presentation from our Safer Pet Vaccination & Health Care Seminar benefiting the Rabies Challenge Fund. We will also have additional Program Guides featuring articles by Drs. Jean Dodds and Ron Schultz. Proceeds benefit the study of the rabies vaccine. Click here to learn more or purchase the DVD now. 


Report adverse reactions (side effects) of vaccines here:  

This is a new page from the AVMA:

On-line reporting form:  You'll need to get a lot of the information from your vet. Do not expect your vet to submit the report. Underreporting is commonplace.

More reporting information and options:


Read and sign the Safer Vaccines for Companion Animals petition to the U.S. Government, US Governmental Agencies and American Veterinary Medical Association.
dogs and cats get only the vaccines they absolutely need.

The FDA admits that vaccines are not tested for safety except by vaccine manufacturing companies. Vets do not reliably report adverse reactions. The FDA relies on the public to report problems
once the drug or biologic is released into the public.


Did you know that a Chihuahua and a Great Dane get the same dose shot? This puts the small dog at a greater risk of adverse reactions.  For the rabies vaccine, you can legally do nothing about this.




Please read carefully!

Veterinary immunology experts say:

If your dog is ill, delay vaccination if at all possible until your dog is well. Even vaccine labels say to vaccinate healthy dogs only. Do not allow matters of convenience (yours or your vet's) to alter your decision. Let your vet, and your dog's health, guide you to a safe time to vaccinate. Read what vets have to say here: Vaccinating Unhealthy Pets: Beware Reactions & Vaccine Failure 

Read my article Is Your Dog’s Vet a Vaccination Expert? and determine if your vet vaccinates safely -- then act on your findings. It could truly save your dog's life.

Holistic veterinarians suggest giving shots one at a time. That is, give one parvovirus shot; two-three weeks later, give a distemper shot.  Your vet will probably have to order individual shots, so give him or her notice.  The next best solution is parvo mixed with distemper only. Do not use a mixture with Coronavirus, a vaccine NOT recommended by the AAHA 2006 Canine Vaccine Task Force Report.

Do not give a rabies shot within at least 2 weeks of other shots unless absolutely necessary.

Do not give heartworm or flea meds, and do not treat for other worms, without proof of need -- and never within two weeks of vaccination. (Read more about heartworm medication.) Do not use Proheart 6 within one month of vaccination. In fact, before using it, we recommend that you read Heartworm Protection: Do We Need ProHeart 6?

If you suspect your dog is suffering an adverse reaction from a vaccine, I recommend consulting a holistic vet or homeopath as soon as possible. Among other things, they may recommend a homeopathic remedy to clear the vaccine from your dog's system. If you continue to treat your dog's symptoms without treating the cause, you'll likely be treating increasingly bad symptoms for the rest of your dog's life. 

Know that repeated vaccination does not make an immune dog MORE immune. Renowned vaccination expert Dr. Jean Dodds compares immunity to pregnancy: you’re either immune or you’re not. Furthermore, if you're immune to a virus, you're also immune to the virus in the vaccine!

If your dog is chronically ill or immune compromised, he or she may be able to receive an exemption from rabies vaccination. You will likely still have to pay license fees, but your dog may avoid the shot either for the licensing period or the life of the dog, depending on the situation. Your veterinarian will have to apply for the exemption giving reasons and providing documentation. Do not allow your vet to tell you this is not possible unless your local law says it it. If at first you don't succeed...  Note: some locales do not allow exemptions. Read what some activists are doing.

Have your vet document all reactions to all vaccines in case you ever need to apply for an exemption to the rabies vaccine in the future. Make sure they're recorded in the dog's file; GET A COPY and put it in a safe place.

  The only way to safely determine a dog's immunity is to have his or her antibody titers tested. Your veterinarian can perform this simple (not cheap) blood test. Some animals may be repeatedly vaccinated and yet never develop immunity if their immune systems are malfunctioning. (Read about titer testing.)

Your kennel, groomer or doggy day care facility may require proof of vaccination, but more and more establishments will accept titer testing. If they require vaccination more frequently than the law or common sense requires, endeavor to educate them ... or find another establishment. Their ignorance is a grave threat to your dog's health.

Wish you had a crash course in everything you need to know to vaccinate your dog safely? I'm working with a veterinarian to create the most complete primer ever. The information will be low cost and at least half the proceeds will go to support a study lengthen the time between rabies shots. Sign up below and we'll send you complete details when our Vaccine Project is complete.  We will not share your e-mail address with anyone.

First Name

Primary E-mail

Who regulates vaccines?  "CVM [USDA Center for Veterinary Medicine] does not regulate vaccines. The USDA monitors adverse drug reactions in vaccines and it is a voluntary, not a mandatory manufacturer reporting process.  Vaccines do not receive the same scrutiny as drugs. The testing requirements are different."   --

If your vet, kennel owner or groomer says your dog should be
vaccinated against kennel cough (Bordetella):

In general, if your groomer or kennel owner has good ventilation in her shop and uses good hygiene practices, then experts say kennel cough shouldn't be an issue. Bordetella vaccination is also not for dogs playing together in well-ventilated areas. Think of kennel cough as a canine cold that is transmitted in much the same way human colds are transmitted -- in close areas to a host with compromised immunity.

If the service provider is afraid your dog will get kennel cough, offer to sign a letter of informed consent, saying that you've been informed of the risk and waive liability.

If he or she is afraid other dogs will catch kennel cough from your dog, then he/she clearly doesn't trust the fact that the vaccinated dogs have immunity to the disease -- so why vaccinate at all?

Here's what the top expert, Dr. Ronald Schultz, says: "Many animals receive "kennel cough" vaccines that include Bordetella and CPI and/or CAV-2 every 6 to 9 months without evidence that this frequency of vaccination is necessary or beneficial. In contrast, other dogs are never vaccinated for kennel cough and disease is not seen. CPI immunity lasts at least 3 years when given intranasally, and CAV -2 immunity lasts a minimum of 7 years parenterally for CAV-I. These two viruses in combination with Bordetella bronchiseptica are the agents most often associated with kennel cough, however, other factors play an important role in disease (e.g. stress, dust, humidity, molds, mycoplasma, etc.), thus kennel cough is not a vaccine preventable disease because of the complex factors associated with this disease. Furthermore, this is often a mild to moderate self limiting disease. I refer to it as the "Canine Cold." My preference when a kennel cough vaccine is used is that it should be the intranasal rather than the parenteral, but some dogs will not allow someone to administer the vaccine intranasally."


4 important (very watchable) videos of interviews of Ronald D. Schultz, PhD, world-renowned vaccination expert

How Often Should You Vaccinate Your Cat or Dog?   Part 1


Airlines flying within the Continental U.S. may or may not require proof of rabies vaccination. Check the website of the airline in question. Flying internationally is more complicated and may require antibody titer testing, a vaccination linked to a microchip or tattoo, and/or vaccination is a good place to go for details. You must plan well ahead.

Do not vaccinate immediately before travel. Your dog may experience a life-threatening adverse reaction and may die because you're unable to reach medical assistance in time. Give your dog at least a week after vaccination before flying. Check out vets on the road at

Keep copies of your vaccination records in a safe place in your home, in all your automobiles and in your dog's travel bag. The records at your vet’s office may or may not be available when needed and you don’t want to have to revaccinate unnecessarily if your dog bites someone or you have to board her unexpectedly.


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Award-winning book
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Chiclet T. Dog with 16 pages of easy-to-digest information about vaccination plus 18 other subjects.




Article by Dr. Ron Schultz and article by Dr. Richard Ford re over-vaccination of pets. Both were members of the 2006 AAHA Canine Vaccine Task Force.



Watch all our other videos on dog care:  see them all on one page at our blog or individually here:

Dangers of the Rabies Vaccine

Avoiding Dangerous Veterinarians

Stand Up to Your Vet




Do you trust your vet to tell you everything you need to know, and to put your dog's care before profits? Watch Avoiding Dangerous Veterinarians


Here's an in-depth vaccination article from Australian vaccination activist Elizabeth Hart:
Over-vaccination of pets – an unethical practice  

"Many veterinarians are ignoring international dog and cat vaccination guidelines, and continuing to send reminder letters compelling pet owners to have their pets unnecessarily revaccinated for diseases such as parvovirus, distemper virus and adenovirus. This unethical practice of over-vaccination is of no benefit to the animal and puts it at needless risk of a range of adverse reactions, including death."


Bookmark this page. Click here: Bookmark and Share   Get updates and health alerts: Follow K9Author on Twitter.
Read our article Vaccinating Dogs: 10 Steps to Eliminating Unnecessary Shots


Blood antibody testing provides good evidence that the rabies vaccine persists seven years post vaccination. Unfortunately, most laws require vaccination every three years and some locals even require annual or biannual vaccination.   Learn more at


Dogs Adverse Reactions  This link goes directly to the vaccine problems page. It has other great pages on drugs that can harm pets.
WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) 2010 Vaccination Guidelines for Dogs and Cats  Go to page 5 for Canine Vaccination Guidelines, and p.11 for Cats. 
2011 American Animal Hospital Canine Vaccination Report The American Animal Hospital Association Taskforce examined the safety and efficacy of all canine vaccines in 2003, 2006 and now 2011. They changed vaccination recommendations for vet schools and organizations throughout the US. Note: this group is very conservative; they've made great strides in bringing change, but many activists feel they haven't gone far enough because they're trying not to anger the veterinary establishment even more than they have.

Learn about nosodes. These are controversial, but take a look if you're interested. Some think they're useless. Others think they work. Dr. Schultz has sited a study that showed nosodes didn't prevent disease but did lessen the severity. holds that "... vaccinated humans have more disease than their non-vaccinated counterparts.  Likewise with animals, vaccination is a fundamentally Find excellent links to differing points of view here.
Do you have a pug?  Check out the Pug DNA study Dr. Jean Dodds has volunteered her Hemopet facility as a repository for blood samples that will be used in a DNA study to discover any markers that could be used to determine susceptibility to adverse vaccine reactions in the Pug.

                 Disclaimer: Jan Rasmusen is not a veterinarian. The information on this website is provided for information purposes only, and is not intended as a substitute for advice from a qualified health practitioner.


Permission to reprint or publish on your website, newsletter or blog is granted providing you give this attribution:

Jan Rasmusen is the award-winning author of Scared Poopless: The Straight Scoop on Dog Care. Learn more about her book and sign up for her free newsletter at

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Important Disclaimer: Jan Rasmusen is not a veterinarian. The information contained on this web site is provided for general information purposes. Any information provided is not veterinary advice and should not be substituted for a regular consultation with a veterinary professional. If you have any concerns about your dog's health, please contact your veterinarian's office immediately.  
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