Dog Vaccine Dangers

Holistic veterinary practitioners have been warning the public about dog vaccine dangers for decades, but it is only in the past 15 years or so that standard veterinary practitioners have started accepting these warnings.

Dog Vaccine Research

Research has been started to develop new strategies to protect dogs from the very real diseases that vaccinations prevent, while taking care not to over-vaccinate them.

One of the interesting facts that has emerged from the new research into dog vaccines is that a dog only needs an initial round of vaccinations for some diseases as a young dog, and his body can then build immunity that stays with him for the rest of his life. This means there is no need for the so-called 'booster' shots every year for diseases such as canine parvovirus, canine adenovirus and canine distemper virus.

New Dog Vaccine Protocol

This research has led all 27 veterinary colleges in the United States to revise their protocols in regards to vaccinating dogs. The new guidelines stress that a puppy's immune system is fully mature when he reaches 6 months of age. At that time, he should receive a modified live virus (MLV) series of vaccines. Individual vaccines should be spaced three to four weeks apart for optimum effectiveness. There is no need for further vaccinations or boosters after that.


The only exception is for the rabies vaccine. While research shows that dogs do not need annual boosters, most cities have laws on the books governing this and dog owners should follow those laws. In some cases, such as a sick or elderly dog, the city will grant an exception at the request of the dog's veterinarian.

Vaccine Reactions

Some dogs experience vaccine reactions ranging from mild to severe. They can be loosely categorized as behavioral, skin, internal problems and other.

Behavioral Dog Vaccine Dangers

Behavioral changes include irritability, lethargy, aggression or fearfulness.

Skin Related Dog Vaccine Dangers

Skin problems can include rashes, itching, tumors (malignant or benign) at injection site, warty growths and excessive bleeding at the injection site. Allergy dangers often cause skin puffiness in the face as well as sneezing and nasal discharge.

Internal Changes

Internal changes can be observed throughout the dog's body and they include bone or joint disorders, immune diseases, gastrointestinal illness, constipation/diarrhea, renal failure and cardiac problems.

Other Dog Vaccine Dangers

Some other vaccine dangers are neurological problems, usually manifested by unsteadiness or an inability to walk in a straight line and in very rare cases, cancer following a rabies vaccine.

These disorders are more commonly seen in small dogs rather than the larger breeds, or they are more severe. Researchers are now experimenting with dosage sizes tailored to the dog's weight rather than one dosage for all sizes.

Keep in mind that while the above vaccine reactions are possible, in most cases the threat is more than mitigated by the protection these immunizations provide.