There are at least ten different vaccines available for dogs. Puppies often receive their first Parvo shot at the age of 5 weeks. Shots are sometimes given as single shots (as an annual Rabies shot is commonly given) and sometimes vaccines are combined. Combination shots are meant to protect dogs from as many as 7 different diseases. The more diseases covered in a vaccine, the more likely it is that a dog will react to his vaccination. Some vaccines are more likely to cause a reaction than others. The Leptospirosis vaccine is commonly known to cause side effects. The Lyme and Rabies shots are more likely to cause reactions than Bordetella, Parainfluenza or Parvovirus. But even shots that are considered to be “low risk” shots have still caused serious side effects and death in many pets.
Earth Clinic readers have reported many side effects from booster shots. These side effects include lameness, unusual odor, cold symptoms, pain, lethargy, panting, diarrhea, vomiting, hives and loss of appetite. More serious side effects include seizures, shock and epilepsy. It is not uncommon to have a reaction at the site of the vaccine. In the long term, cysts or tumors have been known to form at the vaccination site.
Reducing Risks of Booster Shot Side Effects
To avoid side effects from booster shots in your dog, avoid getting multiple shots or combination shots. It is less convenient to take a pet to the vet multiple times to space out vaccinations, but this decreases the risk of side effects and also will allow you to know if your dog reacts badly to a particular vaccine. Dogs should never be vaccinated when they are sick, or recovering from surgery. Receiving vaccinations when the body is already compromised will make side effects more likely. Educate yourself so that you know which vaccinations your pet really needs. Show dogs or dogs that have frequent contact with other dogs are at a higher risk than perhaps a farm dog that rarely is around other dogs to contract certain diseases, like Bordatella. A farm dog on the other hand is more likely to come in contact with Rabies or Lyme disease than most dogs that live in the city.
Remedies for Booster Shot Side Effects
If your dog does experience side effects from his booster shots, there are natural remedies that Earth Clinic readers have found helpful.
Homeopathic Thuja is commonly used for pets when they react badly to a vaccine. This is a good remedy to keep in the home ahead of time, to be ready for a vaccine should it happen. Homeopathic remedies generally have a long shelf life.
Ted from Bangkok recommends DMSO if seizures are a side effect of a pet vaccine. 10 cc's of DMSO added to the drinking water.
Children's Benadryl is used for reactions that appear to be allergic reactions in nature.
For vomiting and diarrhea, activated charcoal powder can be mixed in food or water and given every couple of hours – 1/4 teaspoon for a 25 pound dog (1/2 teaspoon for a 50 pound dog, etc.) Activated charcoal powder also helps to detox from the vaccine.
An dog with severe vomiting and diarrhea may need to be feed liquids with a syringe very often to avoid dehydration. A child's oral re-hydration solution would provide electrolytes and would be better than plain water for a very sick dog.
“Timh” from Kentucky regularly recommends Milk Thistle to detoxify the liver. Milk Thistle capsules can be opened and sprinkled onto the food.
If your dog has had side effects from a booster shot, please be sure to send us feedback.
Scroll down to read Earth Clinic reader's experiences with booster shots for dogs, their side effects, and cures.