Dog Reactions to Vaccines

A veterinarian explains what you should know about the unwanted side effects of vaccinations for dogs.


Q. Can vaccines make my dog sick?

Leslie Sinclair, DVMLeslie Sinclair, DVM says: Yes, despite the enormous good they do, vaccines can have unwanted effects. Any dog can have an allergic reaction to a vaccine. The reaction usually occurs within a few minutes to hours after vaccination, and symptoms can range from vomiting and diarrhea to swelling around face and head (hives) to shock. Emergency treatment may be necessary to save the dogs life. Another condition that vaccination can trigger is autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA). It occurs when, for any number of reasons, your dogs immune system turns on itself, and mistakenly begins to devour the red blood cells in her bloodstream. Vaccination is only one possible cause of AIHA, which can occur in dogs, humans, and other species. Most cases of AIHA respond successfully to medical treatment. Be sure to consullt your veterinarian about other causes of AIHA.

Vaccination is one of the most effective methods we have for protecting dogs, although rare adverse reactions do occur. Its important that you and your veterinarian carefully discuss which vaccines are truly necessary, and the benefits and drawbacks of vaccination.

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Reprinted from Ask the Vet About Dogs, by Leslie Sincliar, DVM © 2003. Permission granted by BowTie Press.


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Laurie   Aiken, South Carolina

3/13/2015 8:44:36 AM

Took my 6 year old in for her Rarotonga and distemper the next evening she came on my lap sprat red to pet her and noticed her head above her eyes were baled she rubbed of the hair I ct the top knot off almost all the hair was gone. Took her to the vet he gave her a steroid and Benadryl ,next day fever and noo better poor baby under her belly her bum all purple red with bumps back at the vet hopefully this two more meds will help no more vaccines for ever.

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Linda   norman, Oklahoma

2/8/2015 9:55:38 AM

Thursday may dog was placed under anesthesia for teeth cleaning and given her scheduled vaccinations. Friday she seemed okay, a little tired but still willing to go for walk and ate a little. Saturday we had an all day outing and she drank water well... seemed normal on walk. Sunday she is stiff while walking, not eating or drinking, lethargic yet responsive and her ears are done flat against her head. Could this be a delayed reaction... or did we overdo it yesterday? Should I give her benadryl? ASA?

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Carran   Midland, Texas

10/4/2014 4:19:27 PM

I have read numerous articles on giving dogs broth and they have all said any broth made from store bought cubes or powder is not good for our dogs. Onions are very bad for dogs and all store broth has onions in them along with garlic. Garlic can be bad on their digestive systems. I do not give them broth anymore unless I make it.

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Maggie'sMom   Buena Park, California

2/17/2014 7:56:56 PM

Vaccines cause brain inflammation and also the very diseases they are supposed to make the animal "immune" to. Don't believe the hype from the conventional medical community. Research it yourself. My husband and I have owned dogs for 40 years and stopped vaccinating 30 years ago after having a dog die from a vaccine. Our conventional vet was clueless about it and insisted it wasn't the cause. We found a natural vet who explained the facts about vaccines and how they work. Don't ever vaccinate your pet. Hide it if you must from the authorities but vaccines and rotten pet food are killing our animals. Change to a raw meat diet along with no vaccines and you'll see how healthy and how much longer your pets live. Our last 2 dogs lived to be 25 years old and were never sick a day in their lives. Thank you God for the good vets out there who tell the truth. There's also a class action lawsuit against vaccine makers starting now.

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