Dog allergic to vaccinations


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Our question this week was:

Hi Dr. Debra,

My name is Lisa and I have a miniature dachshund born on 9/9/06. He had several shots over the last few months and has never had any reactions to his vaccinations until yesterday. The vet decided to give him 2 shots at once (corona virus & distemper parvo la) instead of just giving one shot. Anyway I left the vet and a few hrs later noticed my puppy was very swollen around his face and rushed him back to the vet.

The vet gave him a shot of dexamethasone 2mg and diphenhydramine 50mg. He is doing much better and I am continuing giving him benadryl. My question to you is do you think it is necessary to give these 2 preventative shot prior to any other vaccinations? He did well with just 1 shot per visit. I am not sure what to do. I also hate the fact to treat for something unless it is absolutely necessary. I look forward to your response.

Lisa Palmisano


Thanks for your question Lisa. Sorry to hear about your problems. Allergic reactions to vaccinations is relatively common. The signs you described such as a swollen face is a very common sign. There is no one perfect way to deal with vaccine reactions. Some veterinarians will give preventative shot or shots prior to the next set of vaccinations and others will only give one shot per visit and divide them up over the course of a few days (not both in one day). I've seen both options work.

Personally, depending on the severity of the problem, I'll recommend my clients give oral Benadryl prior to revaccination and I'll divide the vaccination over a few visits. It sounds like what your veterinarian recommended is very reasonable.

I have an article on about Allergic reactions to vaccines which talks about some of the options which might be useful to you.

Allergic Reaction to Vaccines in Dogs

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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About The Author

debra-primovic Dr. Debra Primovic

Debra A. Primovic, BSN, DVM, Editor-in-Chief, is a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Nursing and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Following her veterinary medical training, Dr. Primovic practiced in general small animal practices as well as veterinary emergency practices. She was staff veterinarian at the Animal Emergency Clinic of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the busiest emergency/critical care practices in the United States as well as MedVet Columbus, winner of the AAHA Hospital of the year in 2014. She also spends time in general practice at the Granville Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Primovic divides her time among veterinary emergency and general practice, editing, writing, and updating articles for, and editing and indexing for veterinary publications. She loves both dogs and cats but has had extraordinary cats in her life, all of which have died over the past couple years. Special cats in her life were Kali, Sammy, Pepper and Beanie.