View Full Version : Vaccination reaction

18th March 2007, 04:26 PM
Well, my worst fears about vaccinations happened....Bentley had his parvo/distemper combo on Friday. He was a bit lethargic, as I thought he would be, and I know that is normal. But now early this morning he started shaking and then he yelped a few times, like he was in pain. I called my vet, and she recommended that I give Bentley a baby aspirin, or one-fourth of an adult aspirin. So, I gave Bentley one-fourth of an adult aspirin, rolled it up in bread with a smudge of peanut butter on it (she said to give it with food). He is sleeping now, so I hope that was the extent of it. But, wow, it sure scared the crap out of me. All I could think of was the time our Poodle had a bad reaction and was yelping in pain so bad we had to take him in to the vet and give him meds. So, I have my fingers crossed that things will calm down for Bentley now.


Cathy T
18th March 2007, 05:10 PM
Hope Bentley is feeling better! I've not had a negative experience to vacs but am always on the look out.

18th March 2007, 06:26 PM
True adverse vaccine reactions that need to be worried about are the anaphylactic reactions that happen within the first 30 minutes or so of an injection -- that's why it's always recommended to have a vet do vaccinations so they can keep an eye on them for any immediate response. They happen pretty fast just as with bee sting reactions and so forth.

Some discomfort and soreness in the injection site is common. I spent three days with a lot of soreness and the first day feeling quite dizzy when I had one of the main vaccinations for a trip to Africa. Tetanus also induces fairly strong reactions in some people that can last couple of days -- but these are not vaccine reactions per se; they are just the type of thing some folks go thru as their body reacts to the vaccine and starts forming antibodies. Jaspar and Leo both always have had some soreness UNTIL I moved injections to the thigh (see below).

If cavaliers are injected in the neck or shoulder area, I think they all run a risk of extra potential pain because of the 90%+ existence of the skull malformation that often forces the brain out thru the base of the skull in just the area being injected; and also the high incidence of syrinxes (SM -- 35-70% of all cavaliers in research samples; the lesser figure was for a younger sample that didn't classify small syrinxes s syrinxes but 'hydromyelias' or the figure would have been higher; 50%+ is the average for older mixed samples). This means MOST cavaliers COULD have a reaction and ongoing pain from ANY injection into the neck/shoulder region even if they do not normally show symptoms for CM/SM, so many neurologists now advise to always get injections for cavaliers in the butt or thigh.

18th March 2007, 07:05 PM
I thought of that, about the injection being in the neck/shoulder region....so next time maybe I should talk to my vet about an alternate area to do the vaccinations. Thanks! So far he is doing good now, so maybe the worst is over.

18th March 2007, 08:03 PM
I convinced my vet that cavaliers should be given innoculations in the thigh. At the beginning of his veterinary career-- that is where they were taught to give them. Some secondary reactions to vaccinations can be pretty scary. Bloody diarrhea (with weight loss of 5% of body weight--- screaming in pain for days, walks like they are 15 years instead of two. I have a dog that gets lumps where he is innoculated. I fear the dogs immune system maybe trying to keep the serium encapsulated-- the lump stayed for 5 months before it slowly STARTED to go away.

18th March 2007, 09:00 PM
The first time I asked one of my vets to give an injection somewhere else than the neck he said 'OK' and gave it in Leo's back before I could even say, thigh! Leo yelped and was clearly really upset for several minutes after and the injection spot bothered him for several hours after. He is NOT sensitive otherwise -- for example, he donated blood to the cavalier SM DNA project from his leg and this took quite a bit of time. He has a syrinx in his lower neck area which would be pressing against nerve endings down his spine, and I would bet this reaction was due to pain from the injection being in that area. :( Now I am very careful to say THIGH. Not the vet's fault; I didn't get a chance to explain.

18th March 2007, 09:14 PM
OMG how awful! Well, after this, in the future, depending on how this goes for us, we may end up doing titers. We'll see.

18th March 2007, 10:33 PM
I hope Bentley is feeling 100% by the time you get to read this. That must have really upset you, given the history of your other dog.

19th March 2007, 12:49 AM
Thanks Caraline, yes, I was really scared and upset. So far he's been doing OK, altho he seems a bit more tired this evening, I gave him a second dose of aspirin just a little while ago, my vet suggested I give him a dose tonight, so I did. So, if he should still have a bit of a fever or is feeling achey and sore, this should help.

19th March 2007, 12:55 AM
If your boy does need another innoculation-- you might look into thuja. It is a suppliment that is supposed to help with reactions. I bought some and haven't asked about dosage yet-- I am not sure my vet knows enough about it-- an holistic vet may know. I hope he is feeling like himself by tomorrow.

19th March 2007, 12:58 AM
Nicki might know as she has quite a bit of info on alternative approaches.

19th March 2007, 02:19 AM
Oh, I hadn't heard of that....thanks Sandy, and thanks Karlin! I will have to read up on that. Bentley should be good now, as far as shots go, my vet told me he won't need to come back for any more vaccinations for 3 years now. So I can breathe a sigh of relief for the time being at least. I sure do appreciate all of your help tho, this board and all of you here has sure helped to ease my mind!


19th March 2007, 08:14 AM
Go the nosodes route for your Cavalier.

I use conventional for my others (Shelties) but not the Cavs. In this house we have seen to many bad reactions in the past with the Cavaliers to go down that path ever again.


19th March 2007, 09:53 AM
yes Thuja can help to prevent reactions to vaccines - I will look up the dose.

From one of my books - Thuja 30c one hour before and one hour after the vaccination.

Also you can give Silicea 30c on the day of vacccination.

Check with your vet what is actually necessary for your area - if there haven't been any cases of leptospirosis, do you need to vaccinate against it?

As Karlin says, at the very least, make sure the vet injects into the thigh. There is some loose skin at the front of the thigh, and this is a good place. If your Cavalier is having any injections at all, or going in for surgery, stress this to you vet that you want injections in the thigh and none in the neck.

I use nosodes, but have researched this thoroughly, and although I am aware of the lack of scientific research, I am also aware of the reasons for this - there isn't the funding {as you prob know it is very expensive}, and there are also serious welfare implications in doing research over the lifetime of the dogs - they have to be kept in isolation.

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence for nosodes, my own supplier has over 400 customes using them all the time, including breeders regularly attending dog shows. None of these have ever had problems.

Dr Richard Pitcairn also has some very interesting information in his book, and there is a brilliant chapter on vaccination in Don Hamilton's Homoeopathy book. Both are available from Amazon.

if you follow this link, then NESSR {spaniel rescue including Cavaliers} benefit from any purchase you may make {UK}


I have one vaccine damaged dog, and now only give Nosodes to my Cavaliers.

This is something that you have to research very carefully and make your own decisions about...

19th March 2007, 12:33 PM
Bobo has the same reaction when he gets that vac. It takes about 24 hours before he is back to normal he always gets his shot in the rear portion.

19th March 2007, 03:07 PM
Thank you so much all of you, I am beginning to realize that our Cavaliers seem to be way more sensitive to things like vaccines than other dogs. I am going to ask my vet about the nosodes and the thuja....those are both new to me. No, I didn't get the lepto for Bentley, heard too many bad things about the vaccine, and my vet did not recommend for him anyway.

Again, wow, thank you so much! I am going to look online and do some research now about what I have learned here.


19th March 2007, 03:19 PM
Our holistic vet sends Thuja home following a rabies shot (I can't remember the dose--30 cc sounds right--but he likes it to be given for three days). (This last time we did titers and so we didn't have additional boosters other than the rabies.)

19th March 2007, 03:39 PM
Just be aware that there is very little medical evidence to make a strong case for the effectiveness of nosodes and they remain a controversial way of immunising a dog. An existing survey of all studies done on this topic, carried last spring in one of the leading professional holistic vet journals, noted the studies were generally far too small and often, poorly structured and sloppily conducted -- and that more studies are badly needed in this area. Because of this I would personally only choose nosodes in special circumstances when there are no other options though I know others are more comfortable with this choice. I respect individual choice but will not promote nosodes here because I believe them to be substandard for healthy dogs *on existing evidence*. Like most in rescue, I have seen dogs dying painfully from distemper and parvo and would not be willing to run the risk that nosodes do not work, with my own dogs. Leo, who has SM, has shown no problems with normal vaccinations (including kennel cough and lepto -- indeed he was just kenneled with dogs where there was an outbreak of kennel cough and all unvaccinated dogs got it. None of mine did.) and I would not choose otherwise unless he becomes more health compromised, but at such a point I would shift to nosodes for him as the next best option. Keep in mind the risk of parvo and distemper is low anyway especially amongst dogs not regularly in contact with other dogs, so that is why I am not convinced by anecdotal evidence for nosodes -- even amongst unvaccinated dogs few after puppyhood will get distemper/parvo, just as very few used to get rabies back when it wasn't vaccinated against, but if they do it can be lethal.

Be sure whatever decision you ultimately make, to get professional advice from a holistic vet and a conventional vet ideally, so that you can weigh different perspectives. Also always be sure to have a holistic vet's advice when administering holistic remedies as, like any medication (and that is what they are), they can clash with other medications -- sometimes lethally -- and what suits one animal may not be appropriate to yours. Some are quite harmless but you need to know which ones and under what circumstances, something experienced folks will know but neophytes should always check with a holistic vet. :) Advice from others on a board like this, who are nonprofessionals, is useful as a guideline, and to get assorted perspectives, but should NEVER be the basis of self-medicating an animal nor believed to be 100% accurate information. Most people post with good intent on the basis of either what they can remember or their own opinion, but this is NOT sufficient grounds for basing medical treatment decisions. :thmbsup: This is not to automatically negate any of the advice given or the bona fides of folks posting, it is just a general caution on threads like this.

19th March 2007, 05:03 PM
Thanks Karlin! I will always consult my vet, and I am actually still leaning toward having titers drawn the next time vaccinations are due. Altho I do like to read up on the alternatives too. But, perhaps for us titers are the route for us to go, my vet does offer that. I am very leery of giving anything to Bentley now, vaccines or holistic routes as well, so I definitely will proceed with caution.

19th March 2007, 06:36 PM
Thank you so much all of you, I am beginning to realize that our Cavaliers seem to be way more sensitive to things like vaccines than other dogs. I am going to ask my vet about the nosodes and the thuja....those are both new to me. No, I didn't get the lepto for Bentley, heard too many bad things about the vaccine, and my vet did not recommend for him anyway.

Again, wow, thank you so much! I am going to look online and do some research now about what I have learned here.


I used to think cavaliers were extremely sensitive, but I've changed my mind. I've had one break bones in her foot and she still stayed sweet. I have had numerous blood draws (heartworm, progesterone,brucellosis) and very few have even flinched.
Even my vet has stopped routinely giving lepto and he has stopped with corona (for many reasons - but in part due to the reactions from dogs). He now gives a cat vaccine with an "airneedle" looking machine (so cats don't get tumors from the vaccines).

21st March 2007, 08:15 PM
That "airneedle" machine sounds interesting! True, Bentley didn't flinch ever at the vets, but it does sort of seem that they are a bit more prone to reactions, I guess that is what I meant by sensitive. Bentley always stays sweet too, even when he was a little bit afraid at the vet's, he was still wagging his tail. I have a very nice vet tho who is very patient and very kind.

22nd March 2007, 07:54 AM
sorry bentley was hurting and you got such a scare. thank goodness for aspirin.

The best news is that Bentley doesn't have to go through it for another three years, or hopefully ever.

didn't you already get the rabies shot?

i asked jean dodds if there was anything i could give Zack to minimize reaction to his rabies shot, and she said to give lysine orally for two days before and three days after. Has anyone else heard of this? I don't know what it is or what the dose is, i have it written down in her office manager's hand writing on a little piece of paper. I figured when the time comes, (this month) I will call them and ask for clarification. I'll ask them about thuja too. thanks for the info on that.

23rd March 2007, 01:58 AM
Hi Judy! Thanks, Bentley hasn't had any more episodes of pain, (knock wood!) so I think we are in the clear now. Lysine....hmmm, that sounds familiar to me, I may be wrong, but, I think I've seen that listed under the ingredients of some vitamins I had.

Yes, Bentley had his rabies shot about a month ago, so I can rest easy about that too. So, yes, we are good to go now for another three years. Or, if ever, like you said. I really do think I will have titers drawn next time, as I have had my fill of reactions to vaccinations....so, titers it will be next time.

23rd March 2007, 02:50 AM
I am more famliar with the anaphylactic reactions that occur almost immediately after the vaccine gets into their systems. The places I have worked (or knew other people who worked there) would usually have the owner give diphenhydramine before coming in and they would also give all the vaccines separately - distemper now, parvo in a couple of weeks, lepto in another couple of weeks, etc. We also advised them to stay in the office for at least 30 minutes after the visit.

I've seen some of them have site reactions, and the drowsy feeling and just being a little down seems to be a part of it for a lot of dogs. I also know Cavs are somewhat Drama Queens (& Kings) at times and find that a little whimper does good at scaring the pants off Mom and getting them lots of attention! :shock:

I'm glad yours is okay now. Bottom line is that's what's important. I'm a bit surprised at the vaccines being good for 3 years. In both FL and KY they are given yearly.

Take good care of your baby. :flwr:

24th March 2007, 03:08 AM
Thanks crittercall! Yes, here our vaccines are good for 3 years thank God. My vet did tell me it is possible for him to run a fever and feel unwell and be achey and sore. He has been doing really well now, so I think we are over the worst of it. Scared me tho! He didn't wimper, he let out quite a loud yelp/yipe a couple of times and he was shaking all over, so I knew something bad was going on. And he was real quiet and wouldn't move. The aspirin helped and he hasn't had another occurance since. I had something similar happen to another dog I had several years ago (not a Cavalier), so I am getting more uninclined to give these vaccinations after the boosters, and am leaning toward titers now.

24th March 2007, 03:36 AM
Bottom line is that you have to do what you think is right for your dog and stay in compliance with the laws. In KY they had a 3-year rabies but it was a bookkeeping nightmare for the entire clinic, so most used the 1-year. And in FL they have to send the rabies certificates to the county office so that the county can turn around and charge you for having a pet!

24th March 2007, 04:47 AM
Bottom line is that you have to do what you think is right for your dog and stay in compliance with the laws. In KY they had a 3-year rabies but it was a bookkeeping nightmare for the entire clinic, so most used the 1-year. And in FL they have to send the rabies certificates to the county office so that the county can turn around and charge you for having a pet!

I've been wondering about the extent to which common vet practice has been moving toward the 3 year convention. If i understand you right, you're saying the most vets in KY use the one year convention? The AAHA and AVMA recommend the 3 year interval, since 2002-2003. These organizations are the leaders of the profession, so i imagine this has some effect on what vets in the field do. But i've heard that there are many who don't see any reason to change the 1 year convention and are just continuing it. If you are saying, from your experience, that most vets in KY are continuing the 1 year interval, then that gives me some idea about what the trend is. Do you think this is typical of other states? I'm in the Los Angeles area and the vets i've consulted offer the 3 year option, but this is a large urban metropolis. Perhaps in the "Heartland," things are more traditional.

The AVMA and AAHA stressed that they weren't dictating absolute guidelines but were strongly advising vets to make treatment decisions individually based on the circumstances of each animal, but, by suggesting a 3 year interval, they chose a more liberal guideline than the one year practice that has always been used by most vets.

here's a link from the 2003 AAHA task force report on vaccinations, endorsed by the AVMA--there is an interesting part from the end of page 16 to the beginning of page 18 about how the annual vaccination practice came about, and why the AAHA, by 2003, believed it should abandoned as a blanket policy. In sum, they say there's no scientific basis for it, and that giving drugs such as vaccines unnecessarily is not good medicine, and that duration of immunity research over the years since the once a year convention developed has shown that for the modified live virus vaccines for parvo and distemper, the duration of immunity is at least 5 to 7 years (the length of challenge studies) and is shown to be much longer when antibody titers are measured. If the duration of immunity is this long, and vaccines are potent drugs with adverse as well as beneficial effects, then annual vaccination is unnecesary and is not desirable, from the standpoint of promoting good health. Like the AVMA, they stress that the choice of how often to vaccinate should decided individually, depending on individual circumstances. The report includes guidelines of every three years for those vaccines (rabies, distemper and parvo modified live virus/MLV) which have been shown by research to have much longer durations of immunity than 3 years. (They state that in localities where yearly rabies vaccinations are required by law, their 3 year guidelines can't apply).


24th March 2007, 05:06 AM
Thanks for the info, Judy. I have been out of the vet loop for 10 years now (doesn't seem possible!) but my vet here always recommends the same DHLP-P, CCV, Bordatella and Rabies on a yearly basis. I'm going to have to print our the info you sent so that I can read it carefully and make sense of it - it's 1:00 a.m. right now and I'm beginning to fade!

I have been seriously considering applying at the local Emergency Vet - when we were there last summer everyone in the place begged me to put in an application. Right now we have too many irons in the fire, going from one place to the other for me to go to work. And I have to consider the fact that working those hours is going to leave very little time at home with hubby. But I miss it soooooo much!

Thanks again.

24th March 2007, 08:00 AM
it's easy to see that you love it and miss it.
but you gotta do what you gotta do. you'll probably get back into it when the time is right.
here is a link to the updated AAHA report of 2006
On page 3 they talk about the reasons for the update. But generally the two reports are mostly similar. I think the vaccination schedule recommendations are the same. there are interesting parts in each report that are not in the other one. they complement each other. they are long and technical and hard for me to digest, but fascinating to me, the way there is so much in them that is different from common sense ideas about these subjects.

Barbara Nixon
24th March 2007, 02:47 PM
Joly's mum had a bad reaction to her vaccination and it was very quick. Within 5 minutes of leaving the vets surgery her face had swollen and she was having difficulty breathing. However, the vet soon put things right for her.

Beacause of this when Joly and his sister were done, we waited for half an hour before leaving. Neither dog had any problem, so it doesn't look like an inheritable trait.

Regarding nosodes, I agree with Karlin. There is very little scientific experiment to support them. People who use them say that their dog didn't get the disease and so nosodes work. However, there are many unvaccinated dogs lucky enough not to become ill, bcause they didn't actually come in contact with a virus or have natural immunity.

My springers used to eat potato peelings. They never had fleas, so I could claim that potato peelings prevent flea infestation. Of course , this would be a rediculous claim, but it illustrates a point.

24th March 2007, 04:59 PM
Barbara, if I thought that potato peelings would get rid of fleas my dogs would have them every day. :D

I understand, and that's a good point made. I am not familiar with nosodes and have lots of stuff to read and look up after reading this thread! I have a friend who is leery of vaccines for her dogs, so she will be very interested too.

24th March 2007, 10:28 PM
About the vaccinations. I wasn't referring to the rabies, I will always get that because it is the law here that we do rabies every 3 years. But, It is the parvo/distemper that I plan to do the titers on. Hope that clears things up.