Side Effects of Pet Vaccines: A Closer Look

Combination Vaccines

375 User Reviews
1 star (2) 

Posted by Shannon (Kanab, Utah) on 06/16/2007

Reaction to Parvo Booster: Today our Black Lab puppy had his 9 week booster... Almost IMMEDIATELY he started showing signs that something was wrong. Two minutes after the shot, he began vomiting and lost control of his bowels. He then laid on the ground and wasn't very responsive. We took him to a local clinic and they gave him something similar to benedryl and a steroid and fluids under his skin. After about an hour he began to come around, and when we got him home he slept for most of the day. He only vomited once more and the vet told us to give him rice and canned chicken (easy on the stomach). This was VERY scary, but he seems to be pulling out of it ok.

Combination Vaccines
Posted by thomas (Monreal, Quebec) on 05/27/2007

Re: Animal Vaccines: Just a note about pets and vets! I have a chihuahua that will be 19 on June 23. When he was 5, I needed to travel with him on a plane, and needed a certificate from my vet. After examination, I was told that not only should he NOT fly, he should be put down due to a heart murmur and poorly functioning kidneys. I took him home, so he could die with me, at his time....well, fourteen years later and not a vaccine since, he is fine! He has off days, and half a joseph's Baby aspirin does him fine! Lets STOP introducing chemicals into our pets bodies!! P.S. Stopped giving him store food as well about two years ago.....pureed steamed veg, ground beef and rice.....pure and simple!! Peace!

Combination Vaccines
Posted by Mike (Levittown, PA) on 05/17/2007

Our 5 month old lab just died suddenly after a visit to the vet. He got a booster and rabies shot. He got his shots around 1PM and by 7PM he had grown sluggish and eventually crawled under our bed and passed. He was fine when my wife left the house for 2 hours only to return to find him. My daughter wondered what was up with him, but didn't know to worry. None of us did. We've never heard of pets dying from boosters. We're not sure it's the shots just yet. The vet is performing tests, but I'd be surprised if it was something else.

He was just a pup!

Combination Vaccines
Posted by Stephanie (Burlington, New Jersey) on 04/29/2007

When veterinarians administer vaccines, they normally have a set place of where a specific vaccine is given. For example, a canine distemper shot is usually given in the left shoulder. Sometimes the pet has thick skin that is hard to puncture, or the pet will move when the vaccine is administered. This can cause a small bump in the area that can remain for up to 2 weeks. If any itching, rash, or swelling occurs in that area, the pet should be taken to a veterinarian to have it examined. If you feel that your pet is uncomfortable after a vaccine, apply an ice cube and some witch hazel to the area to reduce swelling. Vaccine discomfort is very common, and your pet will most likely be sleepy for a day after getting an injection.

Combination Vaccines
Posted by Carol (Plant City, Florida) on 04/07/2007

Last year I had both my fox terriers vaccinated and I have never had a problem before, but this time was different.... After my 2 year old male terrier was given all the supposedly necessary shots he began limping....he had a large swollen area near his right front shoulder /neck area and could hardly walk...My female dog 8 years old also had a swollen area but appeared fine at first... I took them back to the vet and he said I just babied them too much but gave the younger dog some type of antiinflammatory meds....It took over 2 weeks for him to walk better and still had a swollen area for quite awhile...Then the female dog started acting funny and started limping on her back again thinks we are all crazy and after a month finally did alot of tests costing alot of money....finding out she hurt her knee area and would just have to wait it out....but I think her injury was caused by an initial reaction to the shots...and then she was injured. Well I think that the vaccination brought this whole thing about and am not sure which shots they had a reaction to....and it is time to vaccinate them again and I am just puttin it off and plan to go to another vet.....but I have no choice but vaccinate them or I will not be able to board them this summer for vacation...

Replied by Mia
(Yorba Linda, Ca)

Vets are not supposed to administer vaccines in that area anymore... that is really bad. It should be the lowest part of the leg. You need a new vet that does things properly.

Combination Vaccines
Posted by Ronda (San Jacinto, Ca) on 03/30/2007

I just gave my 10 week old Doxie his second set of vaccinations. About an hour and a half later, he started throwing up and coughing. He is currently being treated for kennel cough, but now I'm concerned his immune system is compromised. Should I be concerned enough to run him to the vet? He did eat and drink a bit after he was done being sick. I'm very concerned considering our former pup died of parvo. We used a bleach/water solution and disinfected everything we could. Could my new pup have contracted parvo even though we cleaned everything? Or is his reaction from the actual vaccinations. Any advice would be welcomed.

Combination Vaccines
Posted by Jim (Pecos, NM) on 03/25/2007

I have had real problems regarding vaccinations for my dogs. Pups that have died a few days after getting a parvo vaccination. I see stories here now and its quite clear that likely these shots are not very safe for our pets. There was an article in dog fancy magazine a few years back about over immunization damaging our dogs' immune system. For us older folks weren't we taught that once any immune system is exposed to a virus-disease it will be (if survived the experience) immune for life from whatever the version. Yet today we are taught by Vets-Drug Pharmacy companies that we must protect our pets yearly for life. Hog wash. The only disease I see in dogs that is a real deadly problem is Parvo. It is so prevalent everywhere. I was told by one Lab that makes one Live Modified Parvo Vaccine- (yah that I used and had several dead pups after) this company told me that once vaccinated the dogs become lifetime carriers and shed the virus periodically . Thus the reason Parvo is so prevelant-widespread-is because we vaccinate so much against it. It's now hard to find a dead killed Parvo vaccine-which would not ever be spreadable. Of course its a bonanza for a vaccine company not to want to rid the world of a virus-so no wonder you can't find the dead killed versions anymore - we have such a greedy group - thinking money - not good health. If anybody has any results of trying to heal an infected pup with parvo using H202 please speak up. I am beginning to experiment with it as a curative remedy for Parvo which can be so difficult and expensive to treat a pet.

Replied by Adam
(Sherman Oaks, California)

There is a product that is suppose to help dogs against Parvo if god forbid your dog gets get it is called Parvaid and it is a all natural herbal remedy!

Combination Vaccines
Posted by Kelly (Denver, Colorado) on 03/18/2007

I am very concerned about vaccinations my two pugs received. My female pug had an allergic reaction and vomited an hour after her vaccinations. I also wanted to let everyone know she is only 5 years old and about a week after her vaccinations she had lost a significant amount of her hearing and a lump appeared on her right shoulder. I took her back to the vet and he said she just has allot of hair in her ears, but she use to hear much better until she had the vaccinations. I am also concerned that she had a lump appear on her right shoulder. It appears to have gone down after about a week, however all this concerns me. HAs anyone else expereinced this with their dogs or cats? Concerned animal lover!


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Tracey (Elizabeth, Colorado) on 10/24/2007

We had back to back horrible experiences with vaccinations. First we had a six year old yellow lab. Long story short, she went in for a series of shots including bordatella administered through her nose. She wasn't in a daycare or kennel yet caught kennel cough shortly after getting the vaccine. She never got better. We took her to specialists who kept telling us that there wasn't anything seriously wrong with her even when she was bleeding out of the same nostril the vaccine was administered. She died within two months. We contacted the maker of the vaccine and they sent us a check for $300 and made us sign a waiver. Two months after she died we got a German Shepherd puppy. At his three month visit he was given three vaccines at once. This was on a Friday. By Monday he was in intensive care from having multiple seizures. They ran every test in the book on him. They couldn't find anything wrong with him. They wanted to perform two final tests: an MRI on his brain and a spinal tap. I had had enough. I took him out of there and started researching on my own. They told me he would be on seizure meds for the rest of his life and that I would have to have his liver tested every six months for the rest of his life. I refused to listen to their advice. This all happened in September. Within six months he was completely fine and off the seizure meds. Here is what I did: I switched to a raw meat homemade diet, gave him immune boosting supplements and some herbal remedies. I gradually took him off the seizure meds. I didn't do it cold turkey. I will no longer give my dogs vaccinations and will never trust another vet 100% again. My Shepherd does have some allergies but they are mild. Listen to your instincts and don't take any vets word as the gospel. Most of them just want to take your money.

Distemper (Cats)

13 User Reviews
1 star (1) 

Posted by Rich (Chapel Hill, Nc) on 04/25/2015

I am writing this because our beloved one-year old, Reido, just died this morning, a week and a half after getting his distemper shot. We'd notice that he was much more lethargic than usual a couple of days after his shot, and not playing at all. His appetite was off, though he was eating some and drinking.

I called my vet. She said it was unusual for it to last more than a few days, so watch him and call her back.

Reido was simply been like an old man. Very slow to get up, very slow to lie down. He'd walk a few steps and then lie down again. No sounds. Just a sick cat, without any other visible sign other than his obviously low energy, low appetite.

I tried Bach Rescue Remedy, which seemed to work some to get him to look me in the eye. I comforted him, petted him. But otherwise, I hadn't even heard a purr from him in a week.

Last night, I saw him walk (ever so slowly and gingerly) over the toilet downstairs twice, each time to hang his head near the water and eventually lap some. Over the past week, he's vomited, albeit with little volume, twice or three times over the past week. Lethargic, legs under his body much of the time, unresponsive.

I can't really say he was acting at all like that before the vaccinations. And now that I research it just a bit, I find that he was acting like he had distemper.

Reido died this morning, around 7:30a. He crawled to spot close to where our beloved Sebastian died about 2 years ago, very quite, very warm.

It would be wonderful if these sorts of 'exceptions' were publicized -- if this is, indeed, one of those. At least to get the conversation going among vets. But given that there are seldom any official autopsies, they never rise beyond presumption, scientifically speaking. Honestly, there are LOTS of people telling the same kinds of stories, but not much in the official literature. Not surprising, but disheartening for those of us who want to make well informed decisions for ourselves and our animals.

Distemper (Cats)
Posted by Therese (Wadsworth, Ohio ) on 11/14/2013

I took two of my cats (siblings) for their distemper shots about two weeks ago. One of them is currently at the vet for what I beleive is a reaction to the shot (high fever, no appetite, lethargy, nausea). Prior to this shot he was perfectly healthy. Just got off the phone with the vet and shes testing for kidney infection/failure because of his labwork. This is now my second cat that had the EXACT SAME THING happen. Three years ago I took my cat Buddy for his distemper shot and exactly two weeks later he was rushed to the vet with high fever, lethargy, no appetite. After a couple days on fluids he was fine and has been 100% healthy to this day. My vet is in Medina also. After Buddy's incident I spoke with the vet several times explaining that I beleived it to be a reaction the the distemper shot. She refused to believe it!! She finally said that if I felt so strongly we would not vaccinate Buddy again. Now I just called back and left a message for her that this appears to be another shot reaction just like Buddy's. We shall see what she says THIS time!! I'm wondering if these shots are worth the risk at this point since my cats are indoors.

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Hey Therese!

I'm sorry to hear about your ill kitty; I'm even more sorry to hear about the reaction by your vet! This is a person who is supposed to be your team mate in your pet's health, and they are failing to take into consideration the first hand feedback from the team member who spends 100% of their time caring for and observing the pet! [Head:Desk]

It makes perfects sense to me that if one sibling had a bad reaction, that the second sibling might react the same way; its familial.

You might consider dosing both cats with homeopathic Thuja Occidentalis; also dosing some activated charcoal - mixed in with wet food am and pm for a week.

If these were my cats I would NOT vaccinate again, ever. Particularly since they are both indoor kitties.

I would also consider changing vets; the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association lists several holistic practitioners in your area. I find the website hard to use, so a few options if you are interested:

These vets may be able to help heal via nutrition some of the damage done. Please keep us posted on your cat's recovery!

Distemper (Cats)
Posted by Oleander (South Carolina) on 10/15/2013

We are fostering a mother cat and her 2 kittens. We have had this little family since they were less than a week old. The 2 kittens; one girl and one boy, have been totally healthy and fine. They are now 8 weeks old. We were told to get them their first "Distemper" vaccine at 4 weeks old, but since they had a mother and were not orphans, they could wait til 6 weeks. We had their shots done at 6.5 weeks, 11 days ago. Well. Within 3-4 days the little girl started limping on her front leg. I thought this was weird so I planned to call the vet in the morning. The next morning she was limping on her BACK leg. So I talk to the vet and they said this was a vaccine reaction and should clear up pretty fast, and that I could give her a few drops of baby benydryl. So I did that, and continued to watch her. She was eating fine, drinking normally, peeing and pooping normal with no signs of any other issues except her back, left leg.

So, last night, on day 10, I was doing the daily check of her leg to make sure it wasn't getting worse, and I notice it was really swollen at the upper joint, nearly the size of a golf ball!! So today I called the vet and they said to bring her in. I did, and when the vet saw her they said it looked like her back leg and front leg were broken! I said NO WAY and they did X-rays and of course, NOTHING was broken or fractured or injured at all. They said there was a lot of swelling in her back leg joint and a little in her front leg (right) lower joint. They said she had a slight temp. They first said maybe it was DISTEMPER?? I said NO, she has been only with her mother and brother, no where NEAR any other cats and none of them are sick. Plus she has been vaccinated. They do not believe me that it is a vaccination reaction. I said, but don't you give the vaccine in the rear left leg?? and they said No, it's given in the upper back. Which is NOT true. So now my little baby girl is being hospitalized at the vet on multiple antibiotics when I believe all she needs is something to counteract the reaction to the vaccine. What a mess. I have had many foster kittens, have done tons and tons of kitten vaccines and have never seen this happen. I also am pretty positive the shot was given in the left rear leg, not the upper back as they now are stating.

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Hey Oleander!

I am sorry for your experience. Was this experience with a vet with whom you were familiar, or a newer partner? I certainly would have a frank talk with the owner if a partner treated you in this manner, or seek a new vet if this was the owner. Veterinarians are *generalists* and wise vets understand that breeders and rescuers are *specialists*, often with far more experience in a particular niche than their own. Of course they poked the lil' kiki in the leg and NOT the upper back - you are not mis-remembering this; that is the new protocol as a leg is easier to amputate should cancer develop at the site of vaccination [sad but true].

It may help to give this baby some homeopathic Thuja, along with probiotics and additional cleaners such as activated charcoal or milkthistle. Poor lil baby ki. Kudos for rescuing and fostering!

Distemper (Cats)
Posted by Benji5781 (Freehold, Nj) on 04/16/2013

My chihuahua had a reaction to distemper vaccination. Her face became swollen and she became lethargic. Pretty scary.

Distemper (Cats)
Posted by Christa (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) on 07/04/2012

My 3 year old cat got his first distemper vaccination yesterday. Starting from about 5 hours after the shot, he lay down in a closet and didn't seem to move from that spot for about 16 hours. I got him to get up and walk around a bit after that period, but he was being very lethargic - not meowing at all (he's usually very vocal) or chasing a laser pointer (which he usually loves). After being up for about an hour he eventually went and hid under the bed. At that point I decided to call the vet because he never hides under there and I know cats do that when they're dying. The vet said these are all normal side effects from the vaccine and that he should be fine by this evening. He's come out from under the bed now, but he's still pretty much just laying around. I did get him to meow a few times though. He seems to be getting a bit better, but as he's an indoor cat I doubt I'll ever put him through this again.

Distemper (Cats)
Posted by Nancy (Lincolnshire, Il) on 12/10/2010


Per your request for info re animal vaccination reactions:

My DSH [domestic short-hair feline, a b/w tuxedo female, age approx. 15 yrs. , had her first negative reaction to a vaccination. A distemper booster turned the white skin on the back of her neck black. Nothing further happened, and that condition dissipated; however, that small section is now bald. Her vet, who is very good, was alarmed by this result and checked with the manufacturer - which claimed no other such reactions. The vet entered into my cat's files: NEVER EVER AGAIN GIVE THIS CAT A DISTEMPER SHOT. FYI. Thank you for this forum.