Dangerous side effects of dog vaccinations

Vaccinations are a necessary part of caring for a dog of any age, but there are precautions you should take to avoid complications. There is an ever-increasing amount of information available to suggest that dogs are receiving too many vaccinations. There currently isn't one agreed upon solution to the frequency of vaccinations, or even if they are all necessary.

The core vaccines that many veterinarians agree are necessary include rabies, parvo, distemper, hepatitis and rabies. There are others, such as leptovirus, lyme disease and bordatella that are often just given if dogs enter high-risk areas for these diseases. 

I, for one, get titers for my dogs to measure the amount of protection my dogs currently have and to avoid over-vaccinating.

It can be more expensive because if the antibody levels are low after the titer test comes back, the vaccine is still necessary, adding to the cost. I absolutely think this extra step and any extra money spent is worth it. This is especially true since some of the vaccines contain a dose that lasts for three years. So, if I pay for titers, it is less frequent and not a given that I will have to pay for the vaccine as well.

Risks of Vaccinations

There are many risks including itching and swelling at the injection site to shock, lameness, vomiting, head swelling, diarrhea, trouble breathing and lethargy. 

Two of my clients recently had to rush their puppies back to the vet's office after an adverse reaction to the rabies vaccine that caused their puppy's heads to swell. Luckily, they were both fine. But the rabies vaccine is one of the more dangerous vaccines for dogs. See this article on the dangers of rabies vaccines.

What you can do

  1. Split vaccines into multiple visits and avoid "cocktail" vaccines. This will allow you and your veterinarian to identify vaccines that cause your pet to have adverse reactions
  2. Use titers when necessary to measure current levels of antibodies in your pet and avoid over-vaccinating
  3. Stay near your veterinarian's office for a short time after your vaccination appointment so your dog can get immediate care if there is a reaction
  4. Watch your dog closely for a few days after vaccinating to address side effects quickly if they occur
  5. Ask about 3 year vaccines
Don't just assume that your dog needs all of the recommended vaccines - do the research and ask questions
How to teach a dog to stay
Puppy training tip - use the leash inside
 

Comments 4

Jeff Millman on Wednesday, 20 April 2011 21:35

Great info!
Jennifer
http://www.tailcreekmastiffs.com

Great info! Jennifer www.tailcreekmastiffs.com
Jeff Millman on Monday, 23 May 2011 19:18

daughter just lost her dog. 6 years old Sheltie. Took dog to vet to get groomed and annual vacines. Daughter told Dr office at check in to give Benadryl before injections. Dr did not give Benadryl before and 30 minutes later puppy went in to shock while still at vet office. They put her immediatly on IV and after 5 hrs puppy seem to get better. Took off IV and then BP dropped. They put back on IV and took puupy while still connected to IV to 24 hr pet hospital.. They ran test and red blood cells were almost non-existant. Dog was in pain and had to be put to sleep. Maybe just a dog to some but a family member to me. Is there anyone out there who could tell me if the benadryl would have worked? The original vet said that even the benadryl wouldn't have worked. It seem to have worked in previous years? So yes these things are dangerous. Who blame, politicians for making the puppies to get shots, the first vet for not giving us a headsup warning and instructing that we really shouldn't get the shots or last vet who didn't give benadryl?

daughter just lost her dog. 6 years old Sheltie. Took dog to vet to get groomed and annual vacines. Daughter told Dr office at check in to give Benadryl before injections. Dr did not give Benadryl before and 30 minutes later puppy went in to shock while still at vet office. They put her immediatly on IV and after 5 hrs puppy seem to get better. Took off IV and then BP dropped. They put back on IV and took puupy while still connected to IV to 24 hr pet hospital.. They ran test and red blood cells were almost non-existant. Dog was in pain and had to be put to sleep. Maybe just a dog to some but a family member to me. Is there anyone out there who could tell me if the benadryl would have worked? The original vet said that even the benadryl wouldn't have worked. It seem to have worked in previous years? So yes these things are dangerous. Who blame, politicians for making the puppies to get shots, the first vet for not giving us a headsup warning and instructing that we really shouldn't get the shots or last vet who didn't give benadryl?
Jeff Millman on Tuesday, 24 May 2011 03:47

Hi Ervin, I am so sorry that this happened to your wonderful dog. You ask really good questions, and I don't think anyone knows all the answers. I do feel that vaccinations are often over-prescribed and it is hard to know if vets are covering themselves against liability issues or if the motivation is financial gains. Overall I do think most vets have the best interest of their clients in mind. I hope you are eventually able to get over the loss of your daughter's dog, but I know it might be a long time.

Hi Ervin, I am so sorry that this happened to your wonderful dog. You ask really good questions, and I don't think anyone knows all the answers. I do feel that vaccinations are often over-prescribed and it is hard to know if vets are covering themselves against liability issues or if the motivation is financial gains. Overall I do think most vets have the best interest of their clients in mind. I hope you are eventually able to get over the loss of your daughter's dog, but I know it might be a long time.
Jeff Millman on Wednesday, 17 August 2011 03:36

Wow. How tragic!:( I am sorry your dog had to be put down. The vet SHOULD HAVE done as you requested. It is very easy for them to say it would have happened anyway. However, you will never know. These days patients (patient owners) are much more informed on meds and medical practices and I believe doctors resent this. They do not want some 'joe-schmoe' coming in and requesting their own medication and/or recommending what they should do. Many times the patient is right and in your case, I believe this to be true. So sorry.

Wow. How tragic!:( I am sorry your dog had to be put down. The vet SHOULD HAVE done as you requested. It is very easy for them to say it would have happened anyway. However, you will never know. These days patients (patient owners) are much more informed on meds and medical practices and I believe doctors resent this. They do not want some 'joe-schmoe' coming in and requesting their own medication and/or recommending what they should do. Many times the patient is right and in your case, I believe this to be true. So sorry.
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