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Adverse Vaccine Reactions in Dogs

Overview of Vaccine Reactions in Dogs

Veterinarians use vaccines to protect pets from serious diseases. In the majority of cases, pets receive vaccines with no ill effects. Among those who do respond badly in some way, the majority of the adverse vaccine reactions are not life threatening.

However, if you notice any changes in your pet’s health following a vaccination, call your veterinarian immediately.

If a pet develops a pattern of adverse vaccine reactions, it may indicate the pet is at higher risk of something more serious happening following future vaccinations. Share all of your concerns about vaccines with your veterinarian so that you can collaborate on a vaccine plan that makes sense for your pet.

Any individual pet may be susceptible, but smaller dogs tend to experience more adverse vaccine reactions.

Here are breeds that are more commonly affected with vaccine reactions:

What to Watch for:

Common Adverse Vaccine Reactions

Less Common Adverse Vaccine Reactions


Diagnosis is based the history of a recent vaccine and subsequent symptoms as indicated above.


Veterinary treatment greatly depends on the symptoms and seriousness of a pet’s adverse vaccine reaction.

How to Report an Adverse Vaccine Reaction

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees veterinary vaccines through its Center for Veterinary Biologics. Reporting of adverse vaccine reactions is voluntary. Usually, veterinarians file adverse vaccine reaction reports on your behalf. If you choose to do so yourself, here is what’s required.

First, contact the vaccine’s manufacturer, through its veterinary services or technical services department. Visit the company’s main website and look for a toll-free phone number for that department.

Have the following information ready before you call:

USDA: Once you’ve alerted the vaccine’s manufacturer, then you can also contact the USDA.
Online: USDA – Center for Veterinary BiologicsBy Phone: (800) 752-6255 By Fax: (515) 337-6120 By Mail: Center for Veterinary Biologics, 1920 Dayton Avenue, P.O. Box 844 Ames, Iowa 50010