Booster Shot Side Effects in Dogs

Side Effects

26 User Reviews

Posted by Delaine (Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts) on 11/05/2011

My toy poodle is running around like crazy and has been whining for several hours off and on. He must be in a lot of pain from a distemper booster shot he just received. He keeps digging and burying his head. How do we calm him down?

Side Effects
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:



Side Effects
Posted by Lynnette (Olympia, Wa) on 08/22/2011

I have an Italian Greyhound (neutered male) 3.25 years at time of vaccination. Tim had 2 vaccines Leptospirosis and Bordetella, both by injection. 14 hours later he had a status-epilepticus seizure that endured 1 hour.

After the single seizure he was placed on Phenobarbital. I now work with a holistic vet and have moved him to Sodium Bromide and supplements.

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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???

Side Effects
Posted by Corrin (Baltimore, Md) on 05/19/2011

I recently took my Jack Russell mixed breed to get his distemper, rabies, lymes, lepto, and bordetella vaccines. Two hours later he was limping and refused to use his back left leg. I called the vet to find out which limbs were injected. The back left leg was injected with the lepto vaccine. After a restless night of watching over him like a hawk, I woke him early the next morning only to find that he was now limping on his front right leg as well and refused to move at all. Apparently the front right was the destemper injection. My poor baby was in so much pain he was shaking and crying and got very upset if he was touched. I rushed him to the vet where he was given morphine and anti-inflamatories. After 48 hours on pain killers and anti-inflamatories he is better. He still has two red lumps that look like injection sites and there is a large amount of red skin around the injection.

I found out that the same thing happend to my neighbor's small terrier. The distemper vaccine almost killed her little angel.

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Posted by Cindy (Council Bluffs, Ia, Usa) on 11/28/2009

My dog had his annual vaccinations a week ago and a large lump has developed in the past 4 days. He is a pekingese/yorkie mix and is 1 years old. The lump is nearly 2 inches across. The vet told me just to watch it so no remedies have been tried yet. No other symptoms are present.

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

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.

Side Effects
Posted by Nancy (Gap, PA) on 06/09/2009

Friday my 7 year old 10 LB toy poodle had his yearly vaccinations. On Monday, he was honking like a loud goose, choking and spitting up foam. We rushed him to the Vet and he developed Kennel Cough as a result of the Bordetella vaccine. He is on medication and is very sick and just lays around with this sad look in his eyes. I will never allow him to have that shot again. Since he is never around other dogs I feel secure in doing this. I'm also reading that Lymes vaccine has a lot of side effects too. I probably will only allow rabies vaccine from now on....because it's the law!

Side Effects
Posted by Yogakathy (Ulster Park, NY USA) on 05/27/2009

vaccination reactions immediate and delayed: Sweet Patootie, 1 1/2 year old bichon frisee, had facial swelling just hours after his vaccination - I think Bordetella injection was the only different one. 6 months later he developed near-fatal auto-immune hemolytic anemia, and barely survived a week in intensive care - almost at the point of getting a transfusion. He did live, but died prematurely at the age of 11 1/2 years. Unknown cause of death. I resorted to having his titers tested yearly, and they really do stay high enough for years after vaccination.

Side Effects
Posted by Amie (New Britain, CT, USA) on 11/04/2008

My Italian Greyhound (16 weeks old) got her distemper booster earlier today - the 3rd set of the vaccination in a set of 3. Now she seems to be really sore in the shoulder where she received the shot. A large lump has appeared.. it's really, really soft, almost like a giant blister under her fur and skin. That's the best way I can describe it. It's not so much like it's swollen, but more jiggly. I'm pretty worried about her now because she shrieks in pain if you rest your hand against it. I don't know if this is a normal reaction or if I should be worried. She has had a tendency to overreact (quite vocally) to certain things, such as loud noises.

Side Effects
Posted by Steph (London, UK) on 10/21/2008

Has anyone heard of side affects occurring a month after a dog's booster? Within 4 weeks of her shot, my dog started to lose her claws. This happened on every paw and now 2 and a half months later, she only has one claw left. Then last night, she had a severe fit for the first time ever. She is nearly nine and has had no health problems like this before. Although I have had her on fish oil, vit e, vit B3 and anitbiotics for a month now to try to boost her immune sysytem, I am also worried her seizures could be caused by these pills?

She is lethargic and her eyes are very dull. I am so worried about her but cannot get any real help from the Vet. He has taken bloods yet again. The first time was a month ago and they showed nothing wrong!

I found something called SLO on the internet which described her nail symptoms to a "T". It's an auto immune difficiency. That in itself means nothing though as they lump anything they can't diagnose into this category. I am really worried now that she is fitting though as that has no relation to SLO. Anyone out there with some advice?

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Posted by Kirstin Blake (Cochrane, WI) on 08/12/2008

Vaccination Death Report: Yesterday I took my 3 cats to the vets for their "booster vaccinations. My 2 1/2 year old high energy fun loving boy Snorky went into anaphylactic shock in less than 20 minutes. Symptoms included panting, foaming at the mouth, vomiting, loss of bowel control and crying out in pain. Went back to the vet and he was given epinephrin to counteract the reaction and was kept under observation for a couple of hours. After bringing him home, severe vomiting continued and he started throwing up stomache lining and blood. Went back to the vets. He was given something else and we were sent home with siringes of epinepherine and dia....something. Also told to pick up childrens formula (liquid) benedryl. Took him home again and he kept vomiting while laying on his side. Seizures started as mild leg twitches. While driving back to the vets the seizures became violent full body jerks with pupils expanding and contracting. When we reached the vets she tried to give him valium but he stopped breathing. Put him on oxygen but his heart stopped. We were unable to revive him with CPR. Time lapse between vaccination and passing... eight painful hours. He fought it with everything he had.

I do not blame my vet who tried everything she could to save him and cried herself when we couldn't. It was the worst reaction she had seen in 27 years.

Unfortunately, I was unaware of the research regarding booster vaccinations until I came looking for answers as to why my boy died. While I support that young animals should receive their vaccinations, adult pets should not receive boosters. If I had been fully aware of the risks and the newest research, I never would have taken my cats in and Snorky wouldn't have suffered so needlessly.

Totally heartbroken... sorry for being so graphic.

Kirstin Blake
Cochrane, WI

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Posted by Veronica (Greer, SC) on 06/17/2007

It's me again. The one with the husky/lab mix pups.They just turned 18 mo on Sat.We lost our male this past Mon. He hadn't had any seizures since April 23.Sun. he was having cluster seizures;about every 2-3 hrs. He was howling, barking, and whining after coming out of each one.That is the worst thing my family has ever gone through. My female will NEVER get another booster shot. When I took our male to the vet he said-ironically-this is the age when "epilepsy" shows its ugly head. Duh, this is when people give their dogs their boosters, because you tell us to. I've let everyone I know not to give boosters to their dogs.There is no sense that this wonderful young dog should have died or had to go through this. I truly feel for everyone who has lost a dog so soon after booster vaccinations. It's time to get mad and take action!

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Posted by Lisa (Bastrop, Tx) on 03/04/2007

I have just read that epilepsy in dogs can be contributed to booster vaccinations. I have a terrier/border collie mix that I rescued from the pound in 1994. She was estimated to be 8 mos old. About 18 months later she began have epileptic seizures. I have moved a few times since then, but I will be going through my files to see if I have any medical records for her dating back to 1995. It would be interesting to see if she had received any shots close to the onset of the first seizure. She continues to have seizures at random and have become more severe over the years.

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Posted by Deb (Watertown, MN) on 02/21/2007

There is some evidence that epilepsy in dogs can be caused by all the unnecessary booster vaccinations. Dogs usually start having seizures at 2 years old after their booster shots are given. Most vaccinations given puppies should last their lifetime. Check the internet for more detailed information on this subject.This I know is not a remedy but possibly a preventative.

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