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Vaccination Side Effects in Pets

Last Modified on Nov 16, 2015

Distemper (Dogs)
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Posted by Pitmom420 (Houston, Texas) on 11/04/2011

Got two of my dogs vaccinated for parvo/distemper at a local shelter clinic and within 10 days displayed all the signs of distemper. My pitbull, Max, is 6 months old and had it the worst of the 3 dogs - he was sick for nearly a month and there were at least 5 times we thought he was going to die on us.

He has managed to recover mostly but is still very clumsy, has diarrhea and overall looks very skinny and fragile.

If your dog contracts this virus, don't give up. Request Dioxycycline and Clavamox as well as supplelement the animal with 1/2 tsp of food grade diotomaceous earth in the food. I even used a nebulizer with Albuterol to get Max thru the respiratory phase. Don't be afraid to use DM cough suppressant and decongestant for stuffy noses and Benadryl for a runny nose. Flexiril and massage for facial tics or tremors as needed.

These poor dogs literally have 2 1 gallon ziplocs full of every medicine and supplement I could think of.

Max is ok for the most part - my German Shepard Charlie is only exhibiting the runny nose and has a facial tic on his right side that is permanent.

Your dog can recover with dedication and research on your part. I have realized sadly that MANY of the vets out there know NOTHING about distemper. You are going to have to be your own expert.

Good luck. People can email me at if they want advice:



Posted by Jim (Nyc, Ny) on 07/01/2011

[SIDE EFFECTS]  Yes, I Have had a GR puppy that had frequent and excessive urination right after I vaccinated him with distemper shots. Never again. It took a long time for the issue to correct itself. A good Holistic Vet can give your dog homeopathic treatments that has no side effects and may help your pup get back to normal.

Posted by Renee (Hoiuston, Tx) on 05/27/2011

Hi, I have a 9 year old Female Chihuahua who recently had a complete physical, with a senior blood panel and heart ultrasound for a murmur... She got an A clean bill of health. 3 weeks later I noticed she did not get her Parvo/Distemper vaccine and since I had just rescued a 13 year old dog from a shelter I was concerned that my Chihuahua should get the Parvo vaccine. I brought her back for 1 Parvo/Distemper vaccine. That night she had a swelling the size of a golf ball in the injection area. The vet told me it was some sort of reaction and to wait and it would eventually go away. Well, 4 weeks later and I brought her back to the vet and they decided to biopsy it. It was Malignant Mesanchymal CT Neoplasm....CANCER.

Now my poor baby is scheduled for Surgery on Wednesday and I have no Idea what is next. I have no doubt it was from that vaccine and I dont know how to prove it... I am a complete mess. I have tightness in my chest and a lump in my throat. I am devistated. Do you have any suggestions???

Replied by Jan
Atlanta, Georgia
Why put poisons into your pet at all? Vaccines were created by evil people who would not do this to their own!!! Don't go there, just treat them when they get sick, don't MAKE THEM SICK.

Posted by Joe6297 (Oxford, Ct) on 04/19/2011

[SIDE EFFECTS]  My two year old Havanese had a very bad reaction to the distemper vaccine. She had this vaccine alone without any other vaccine's at the same time. I will never get my dog vaccinated again (except for rabies.. State law every 3 years) but I will get Titer tests to see if the dog is protected against these diseases properly. Vaccinations are very scary!

Posted by Mary (Worcester, Ma) on 03/04/2011

Why my dog reacted to a distemper shot w/ black pigment and loss of hair on the injection spot, and also on the other side were he had the rabies shot 2 months prior?

Posted by Mary Lou (Kenosha, Wisconsin Usa) on 01/15/2010

[SIDE EFFECTS]  My little terrier got her distemper shot this week and the day after she could hardly make it up and down the stairs, and was generally lethargic, not eager to go outdoors as usual, and slow to eat her from her dish. Is this an expected side effect or something really serious?

Replied by Ellaina
7441 Granville
I know how you feel. My Maltese recently got his 3rd vaccination and when we got home he started lumping around and just lying on the floor. A few days later the hair around the injection spot to fall of and he started to not eat his food. A few weeks later everything returned to normal and the hair started growing back. Do not worry. Most dogs or puppies may feel this way. If you dog gets any worse make sure to call the vet.:)

Posted by Debbie (Houston, Texas) on 11/04/2009

[SIDE EFFECTS]  Please commemt on this request because I feel so terrible today after losing my new puppy, Suzie. She was a long haired chiwa and six weeks old. She was in great health when I brought her home last Sunday, running and playing and so cute. I was advised by my Vet to bring her in for her first shot for distemper/parvo because I have a a sweet chow at home that is ten years old and I have had her since birth. My puppy, suzie, had her vac on friday and Sunday night she was sick, bloody stool and heaving. I called my vet and he had an attitude. I called my friend and she called her vet and he saw her immediately. She was tested for parvo but negative. He called it some type of intestinal bacteria of the lining of the stomach. She received shots of penn, liquid i.v., nausea, b-12 and he said we could only hope for the best. She was better on tuesday and we started her on pedilite. Wednesday morning she was dead. I believe that it was the vac she had on friday afternoon, maybe it was to strong for her tiny frame or possibly some kind of reaction. Of course the old vet refused to comment and the new one would not comment about the other. I just cannot get a grip on this. Can someone please give me some type of opinion on what you think it could have been?

Posted by Kristina (Norwich, Ct Usa) on 10/28/2009

[SIDE EFFECTS]  distemper reaction

I brought my 10 week old boxer in for his first distemper vaccination. All seemed fine, 2 days after he got the shot, my energetic puppy was unable to stand. The next day that the vet was open we brought him in and began testing him for lyme disease. It seemed very unlikely that he had lyme due to the limited exposure to the outdoors. We proceeded to give the puppy amox. and an anti-inflamatory med because the puppies joints were swollen. two days later the puppy is running around as if nothing ever happened. In between, we had x-rays and a full panel of blood work. We've come to our own decision that the vaccine was to blame. Now he is need of two more rounds of this shot and we are afraid to give it to him

Replied by Tammy
Malone, Ny
How is your puppy now?

Posted by Kim (Flint, Michigan) on 10/10/2009

[SIDE EFFECTS]  Both of my boxer dogs have had reactions to distemper shots

Posted by Jlogan (Los Angeles, Ca) on 09/10/2009

[SIDE EFFECTS]  Distemper Booster: Bad Side Effects

My 2 1/2 year old, male French Bulldog went in for a set of booster shots on 9/03. On 9/09, he started to uncontrollably bob his head up and down. Unluckily for us, we have experienced this same reaction when we took him for his 1 year set of booster shots. After the initial 1 year booster shot reaction, I researched a lot and could only find a few connections between vaccines and his side effects. The vet was very cautious to not associate the head bobbing reaction to the vaccines.

Now, we know for sure after this last shot on Thursday that the head bobbing reaction was caused by getting a vaccine. The first time, he was given Rabies, Distemper, Parvo and Bordetella. I tried only giving him the distemper shot alone this time would avoid any potential harmful side effects. This did not work. Last time the head bobbing lasted for a full 24 hours and went away. Now we are on day 2 and the head bobbing continues. I just want it to go away.

The vet is telling me that the head bobbing is only disturbing for me and that it is not harmful to the dog. It is really sad.

Posted by Maystar (Newport News, Va) on 07/31/2009

[SIDE EFFECTS]  we believe our dog is suffering from an overdose of distemper. Oscar, a dashound came to us 9/08 at approx 9 mos. We were not able to obtain any previous shot records from previous owner. We took him to a vet and he was healthy. They insisted he get his distemper and parvo shots since we were not able to produce it in writing. May of 09 he received his first DHPP shot for 22.40lbs. We took his new shot record to a new vet because of cost. New vet says he must have more shots since it is not on paper. He received DHLPP Annual Vaccine AND DHLPP Vaccine both the same day each dose for 22.7 lbs. A few days later Oscar appeared to be depressed. He was eating and drinking fine. He refused to jump up or down on the couch. Almost a week later Oscar is unable to use his back legs at all. His paws were dragging behind him and he could not stand on his back legs. We rubbed his back and legs looking for an area of pain, he showed none. We took him back to the vet and they said he slipped a disc and if not better in a few weeks will have to have surgery for a slipped disc. He is now on Metacam Suspension, Tramadol Tablets, Methocarbamol Tablets for pain, muscle relaxer and an inflammatory. My husband and I argued with both vets that he already had the shots and they said he must have them and it must be documented. Oscar is totally confined to his crate except for potty time .It is not known at this point if he will ever walk again. We are searching the web because of the irony of timing. We think it is due to an overdose. Can you help?

Replied by Farialreb
Millsboro, De, Usa
In response to "Maystar from Newport News, VA" -- If Oscar is indeed suffering from a slipped disc, you may consider locating a chiropractor in your locale who will manipulate Oscar's spine to correct the injury. At the very least, the chiropractor would be able to tell you if that is in fact Oscar's problem. If it is the problem, you may be able to save Oscar from surgery. We are fortunate enough to have an excellent chiropactor in our area (main clientele are humans) who will look at most any animal with a spine to see if he can assist them. I have taken two of our dogs (who play too rough) to him and he successfully treated them. One dog I had already taken to my vet and he had prescribed muscle relaxers and an anti-inflammatory -- this alleviated the symptoms, but did not cure the problem. The visits to the chiropractor cured the problem.
Replied by Arlene
St Augustine, Florida
Please go to Dodgerlist Website for dachshunds, It will answer all your dachshunds problems.
Replied by Brenda
Northwest, Indiana
dont settle for slipped disc. When dogs can use back legs and are weak it could be kidneys. Or just too weak to move. My dog was misdiagnosed and I ended up losing her. the vet was so wrong said it was a back issue and it was kidneys.

Posted by Michele (Baltimore, Md.) on 05/25/2009

Reactions to shots update. I had said that my dog Molly had been sick from her distemper shot,she ha

EC: Hi, Michele. Could you please resend your feedback? You put your comments in the subject box, which only allows a few characters! Thanks!

Replied by Michele
Baltimore, MD
[DEATH REPORTED]   Well I am very sad to say that my Molly has passed away only 12 days after receiving her 3 yr. distemper shot. I am still devastated and very sad and upset with this situation. Within 36 hrs. of getting the shot, Molly couldn't get up or walk. We took her back to the same vet(our vet) and I told him I thought it was a reaction to the shot. He put her on Rimadyl (for arthritis)? I should have been much more persistent, But I had always trusted my vet. Then we didn't mess around with it anymore and had to take her to the emergency vet at 8a.m. on Monday morning. They did all kinds of tests on her all day long. Here is the outcome: High white blood count, off the charts high sugar levels dehydrated (from vomiting and diarrhea), high potassium level. They called me at 4p.m. Mon. and said that Molly was very critical and not responding to anything that they were doing for her.They were going to do an ultrasound on Tues. but we got the phone call at 3:30a.m. Tues. morning that Molly had a heart attack and passed away. So sad and upsetting. I went to the emergency vet right away to see her. The vet told me that Molly had died from acute Pancreatitis. She was healthy before her shot. At the same time Molly got her shot, my other pup,Tank, got his distemper shot. He also is a very healthy 80lb. boy, but he had diarrhea for about 1wk. and only picked at his food. This was totally unexpected with Molly. I lost 3 of my pets in 7 wks.( my white rat-Ratty, my red tabby-Redgee (from chylothorax, a very horrible disease, and then my pup, Molly from her distemper shot, which no one will ever tell me any different.) So I have been very upset. You know, you think you are doing whats right as a very responsible pet owner and your pet dies. So all I can say is that I will take a chance and get my pets their first shots and NEVER any boosters at all after that. We had Molly cremated and she is in our house now. Tank is eating better finally and pottying normal now. Well I'm going to close for now so love the pets with all your heart and soul. It has grest rewards! Sincerely, Michele

Posted by Michele (Baltimore, Maryland) on 05/17/2009

[SIDE EFFECTS]  I started reading this site about all the pets with reactions from their shots because I, like most of you, get my 2 dogs their shots as a responsible pet owner. My vet has went to every 3 years, but I don't think that really matters. Here is what has happened to my Molly. We took both of our dogs for distemper shots. They are Tank and Molly. Tank seems to be fine. Molly, by Sat.(2 days after her shot) couldn't get up,or walk, we had to carry her up and down the steps,then she started throwing up,not wanting to eat she seems very confused. We took her back to the vet Tues. he put her on Rimadyl. I have since taken her off the Rimadyl because of more vomiting and not wanting to eat. She is also diabetic. Her diabetes is controlled. She has developed a hugh lump (that is bigger than what my hand can cover)by her hind leg,on her side coming up on her back. My vet told me that she is carrying alot of weight in her backend, which dogs usually carry the weight in their chest. Well this lump has quadrupled its size in 1 week. So we are going to see a specialist on Mon. After reading this site and even before I am convinced this is all from her Distemper shot. I told my husband that none of our pets will ever receive boosters as long as they live. I will let you know the outcome.Sincerely, Michele

Posted by drjenhawes (Kalispell, MT) on 04/30/2009

[SIDE EFFECTS]  Has anyone had success treating hypertrophic osteodystrophy in puppies? It is the technical name for the distemper vaccination reaction that happens in Weimeraner and other breeds of dogs....HELP! My poor puppy CHILI is miserable...

Posted by Michelle (Virginia Beach, VA) on 04/29/2009

[SIDE EFFECTS]  1 1/2 year old mini long haired daschund had distemper shot. 4 hour later no engery and throwing up. Emergency vet gave benydrl. Two days later still not eating and not feeling well.

My complaint is why the same dosage for 8 lb dog vs 100 lb dog.