Puppy Vaccination: Possible Adverse Effects

Most of the time, a puppy vaccination goes smoothly and there are never any type of adverse reactions associated with it; however, it is not uncommon for many young puppy is to display adverse reactions to common vaccines that are used in dogs. Therefore, you might want to be aware of some of the possible adverse reactions or side effects that can be associated with many common types of animal vaccines.


While rare, anaphylaxis is a life-threatening, immediate allergic reaction to something ingested or injected-in this case a certain type of animal vaccine. If left untreated, anaphylaxis usually results in shock, respiratory or cardiac failure, and eventually death. Sometimes, anaphylactic reactions occur as a result of a vaccination. The reaction will usually occur within a few minutes to a few hours, but almost always in less than 24 hours. It is estimated that about one in 15,000 vaccinations will result in a case of anaphylaxis.

The most common symptoms associated with anaphylaxis are the sudden onset of diarrhea, vomiting shock or seizures, coma and even instant death. In most cases, the dog's gums will become very pale and the legs of the dog will become extremely cold. The heartbeat is usually elevated to a very fast rate; however, the pulse will generally be weak. Furthermore, there could be signs of swelling in the head and facial areas.

Anaphylaxis is a very dangerous condition; moreover, if you believe your dog is having an anaphylactic reaction, you should immediately seek the emergency services of a qualified veterinarian. In most cases, epinephrine should be giving to the dog as soon as possible. Furthermore, IV fluids and oxygen may be required as well.

Neurologic and Eye Diseases

Among the most common types of adverse reactions associated with a vaccination, are neurologic and eye disease symptoms. In most cases, canine distemper vaccination is the common culprit for these types of neurological or eye diseases. Sometimes, the canine distemper vaccine can cause an inflammation of the brain and may cause brain hemorrhaging in the dog. Furthermore, some measles vaccines for puppies have been reported to cause damage to the nervous system as well. Some types of modified live vaccines have been attributed to causing rare cases of Cerebellar disease in puppies less than six weeks old.

Respiratory Difficulties

Some dogs that are vaccinated with intranasal vaccines may display signs of a mild cough or wheezing. However, these types of symptoms generally will not require treatment and will go away on their own. However, should be aware though that the virus that is created by the intranasal vaccine can be passed to other animals as well.


While extremely rare, lameness or debilitating crippling may result from the administering of several different vaccines.

These are but a few of the possible side effects or adverse reactions that may be associated with puppy vaccinations. Therefore, you should always allow a qualified veterinarian to administer any vaccinations for your dog. While there are companies that provide common vaccinations to be administered by dog owners, it is always a good idea to allow a professional veterinarian to vaccinate your dog for you.