Immunoregulin and Your Dog


Immunoregulin (Propionibacterium acnes injection) - reactions

Q: Dr.Mike: my 14 month old German Shepherd had a case of fused lobe pneumonia for 2 months. After trying several different antibiotics it seemed to be under control with just a residual mucous discharge from his nostril. After some blood tests my Veterinarian informed me that his immune system was not functioning properly and that we should start him on a course of injections of Immunoregulin to try to bring it up to normal levels and hopefully "jump start" his own immune system. Exactly 23 hours after the first intravenous injection my shepherd suffered a seizure, something that had never happened before. The following night, 2 days after the shot, he suffered another seizure. No further seizures have occurred and it has been 5 days since the shot. However, today he received the 2nd injection. His Doctor has never heard of this medication causing a reaction like this and said that it just might be coincidental. She conducted some blood tests after the first seizure and all of his organ functions and blood sugar levels came back normal. My question is, have you ever heard of this type of reaction to Immunoregulin? If so, could you please direct me to where I can obtain some more information about this? Thank you in advance...JoAnn

A: Dear JoAnn

I do not use Immunoregulin (Propionibacterium acnes injection), so I have no first hand knowledge of the side effects. However, it is reported to cause fever, lethargy and decreased appetite in some dogs within a few hours after the injection. It can cause anaphylactic shock (sudden severe shock such as occurs with acute penicillin reactions). Longer term effects that have been reported with the use of Immunoregulin include those listed above plus hepatitis in a small number of patients. I have not seen a reference to seizures after using this product but fevers can bring on seizure activity so I guess it is possible. You may be able to find more information on this medication at the PubMed site (there is a link from our link page) by searching using the term "Propionibacterium acnes".

German shepherds are more likely to have seizure disorders than most breeds of dogs so it is not unlikely that this is coincidental, either. In time, the underlying cause of the seizures may be more discernible.

Mike Richards, DVM

Immunoregulin (Rx)

Q: Can you tell me anything about immunoregulin injections? What are they generally used for and how often? Thanks

A: To the best of my knowledge, propionibacterium acnes (Immunoregulin Rx) injection is only approved as an adjunct therapy for use in controlling resistant skin infections in dogs. It is considered to be an immune stimulant and is therefore used experimentally for many conditions in which immune stimulation seems like a good idea. I have heard anecdotal reports of its use for feline leukemia virus, cancer therapy, feline rhinotracheitis virus, fungal infections and psittacine beak and feather syndrome. There does not seem to be much success using this preparation in these conditions, based on the scientific literature, though.

I have not used Immunoregulin and have no personal experience to base an opinion on.

Mike Richards, DVM


Michael Richards, D.V.M. co-owns a small animal general veterinary practice in rural tidewater Virginia. Dr. Richards graduated from Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine in 1979, and has been in private practice ever since. Dr. Richards has been the director of the PetCare Forum...