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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondered if any of you had an unpleasant experience as did I when I first got my chihuahua. He had two vacinnations from the breeder before I got him but the vet did not want to "count" those so they started from scratch basically. I believe it was his third vaccine he had a mild reaction - but the vet did not even notice. I thought I saw Oliver suddenly gasp as if he had trouble breathing but the vet had his back to him and didn't notice. He was quickly okay so I didn't make too much of it. The next time the shots came around, same office but different vet, I mentioned what I noticed the previous time. She agreed it sounded like a mild reaction and we'd watch him, which we did for a few minutes after. He had no problems at all this time (at the office) UNTIL I was on my way home and he started swelling all over, ears blood red, eyes swollen shut, he was having trouble breathing and throwing up. I was almost home but quickly turned around and raced him back to the vet and I have no doubt he would have died if I had not been there when this happened and acted so quickly. I remember one time I got his shots, dropped him off at home and went to work. Thank goodness I had not dropped him off or something before he had this reaction. But anyway ... just wondered 1) if any of you ever had that problem with shots?

The vet actually wanted me to bring him back for his last set of shots after this happened and would give him benadryl first and watch him all day. Well I had to really think about that one - but not too long. And it sent me on a major research and change of vets. The next vet when I told him about the reaction - took a big red marker and wrote on Oliver's chart - NO MORE SHOTS FOR THIS DOG EVER. He said each reaction is stronger and he could easily die the next time.

But as I said - it sent me on a major research and I found the website below - among others - that strongly suggest we may be over-vaccinating our animals - and causing more harm than good. They even think some cancers are occuring at the injection site, etc. I do believe Oliver was given shots too early for one; and because the vet didn't count them either - he was given too much for a 2 lb. dog. So I thought I'd pass along this website to all of you to consider. I'm not sure this is the "ultimate" website that really cemented my thinking but it's a decent site that makes you "wonder" a little I think. I went on a forum and found several people who had similar cases or even had dogs die after their vaccinations. I'm not trying to scare anyone here but raise awareness.

http://www.prouxchihuahuas.com/id34.html

I'd love to know what others think - if you have other thoughts. I mean I'm not looking for anyone to make me feel guilty that Oliver can no longer get shots, because to me - for this dog - it's not a question anymore. I'd rather be careful with him and take a chance than to have him die from the shots. I've read that we also are giving our dogs shots for things they possibly don't even need now depending on where you live and the shots should be spread out - more like every 3 years vs. ever year. So food for thought. :?

Hope you didn't mind me sharing this here.

Peg aka Oliver's mom
 

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Peg, you are absolutely right!
Although puppy boosters are absolutely necessary, annual vaccination as an adult has been a big debate over the last few years.

New protocols set by Cornell and UCDavis have declared new vaccination schedules which state that after initial puppy boosters (older than 6 weeks), adult vaccinations of Distemper, Parvovirus and Rabies be every three years (for approved manufacturers), while giving Bordatella/Lyme/Lepto as needed depending on exposure. Coronavirus has been taken off the recommended list and Giardia has been added as not-recommended.

There are many healthy dogs who have reactions to vaccines that are either immune mediated or a result of a reaction to the adjuvent or preservatives in the vaccine. For example, intranasal Bordatella vaccine is preserved in penicillin, and if your dog happens to be allergic to it, a reaction will occur. Likewise, if the dog has a strong allergic immune response to killed Rabies vaccine, it will also cause complications.

Incidence of vaccine reaction is more common in small dogs and puppies, which is why the vaccines are spaced out, and no two are given at the same time. If your breeder had provided the labels for the vaccines (some breeders do this), your vet would have been able to make a better decision about revaccinating (without knowledge of brand/combo vaccine, date it was given, the vet doesn't know if the vaccination will be effective or how long it will be effective).

It's very important to monitor your pup for vaccine reactions, we always make sure to go over every possible symptom with owners and caution them to stay within 5 minutes of the area for at least 20 minutes post-vaccination in case a reaction occurs.

I'm glad you found a vet who is sensitive to your pups needs, and that your pup is doing great!

-Nate
 

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Both Callie and Cody have had reactions to their vaccinations although not as serious as you described. They never had difficulty breathing. Because of their reaction, my vet pre-treats them with Benedryl and then we stay a few minutes after to make sure there won't be a reaction. They've been fine since the vet pre-treats them with Benedryl. We also spaced the shots out even more than they normally do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Question for Nate

I am brand new to this forum as of today - so forgive me for not being sure, but I think I've read a couple posts by you and it is obvious you are very knowledgeable in this area and others - are you a vetrinarian or in that field? If so it is really wonderful that you are part of this and so willing to share good tips and wisdom.

Actually my breeder did give me the labels and documentation from the vaccines they gave .... and I showed them to the original vet - they were very detailed in what they gave me but still the original clinic was not willing to accept any of it "in case they did not do it right, or refrigerate it" or something to that effect.

But Nate, if you feel okay to answer this, what would your recommendation be going forward? Do you feel Oliver should ever get shots based on his rather severe reaction. I know someone else in here said their vet gives benadryl before the vaccines and that is what the original vet was going to do on that last innoculation but after the enormous scare, I just wasn't sure he should get any more under any conditions and because I did not feel real sure about the original place to begin with, I did change vets. The new vet even said he would leave it up to me but he was not sure we should even take the risk of giving Oliver a rabies shot. So he is a year old and has never had one. I suppose the risk of him getting rabies is low - you hear of that so seldom in this day and age. Obviously he is an indoor dog and only outside for walks with me, etc.

I'd just like to know Nate if you have any advice for what you think I should do with Oliver. Would I be wise to consider certain shots again in a couple years, or it's just hard to say.

Thanks for any information or advice.

Peg aka Oliver's Mom

Attaching a picture of my little guy just so you understand why I'm so glad he's still with me!
 

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Re: Question for Nate

Hi Peg, not a vet yet, but in that field (have been a busy tech for a few years) and will be beginning my formal studies at Michigan State Veterinary College in August. I've done quite a bit of academic research in vaccines and many other veterinary medical issues, so most of my knowledge comes from putting my studies to daily use in the hospital and spending many hours a week with veterinary specialists.

Your dilemma with the vaccines and the vet is a common one. Vets are taught to only trust veterinary records, and while I will concede that MANY breeders are knowledgeable and do everything just right, it is simply good medical practice to cover all the bases even if it means not trusting a breeders records, how ever good they may be. Unless another veterinary hospital has administered the vaccine, there are many variables that effect vaccine efficacy: the temperature of refridgeration, expiration date (not visible on the sticker), route of administration, skill of the breeder to administer the vaccine, etc, etc...

These might all sound like excuses, but a doctor is not someone who is willing to make blind assumptions, and in a day and age where in some cases other doctors can't even trust their colleagues, trusting a breeder is low on the list.

About Oliver and vaccinations, my personal opinion would be that if he is for the most part indoors (especially at night) he is at low risk. Many vets will tell you that they consider vaccine reactions a greater evil than the diseases we vaccinate for. Pre-medding with Benedryll is a great idea, we use it with young dogs, kittens, and ferrets, however, Benedryll only reduces the severity of an allergic reaction, if the animal has an anaphylactic reaction, the situation immediately becomes an emergency. Since your pup had difficulty breathing following a vaccine, this is of great concern. My personal feeling is that you should avoid the vaccinations which cause these reactions (hopefully you at least have done the puppy series), and take extra precautions in situations where your pup may be exposed. However, you should always consult your vet since he/she is the one who observed the reaction, and can tell you best how you should approach this problem in the future.

Now that I have told you my personal feelings, here are some caveats for you to consider: by law, domestic animals in the United States known for carrying Rabies Virus must be vaccinated by the guidelines of their state (most likely every 3 years in adult dogs after initial at 16 weeks). If they are picked up by animal control if they bite someone, and you can't prove they've been vaccinated within these guidelines they legally must be euthanized in order to be tested as a host.

Furthermore, diseases transmitted through respiratory secretions, especialy Bordatella are a danger to consider, a severe Bordatella infection is common, and anywhere your dog goes where others have been, especially the animal hospital and dog park, you are at risk.

Since Oliver is indoor mostly and only out for walks, you are right, Rabies is of little concern (I can hardly see a bat swooping out of no where in the middle of day JUST to bit a chihuahua).

If you can clarify which vaccines Oliver has had, it would help me give you some better advice on how to ask the doctor what you should do.

Which vaccines were given, and when?

Hopefully this helps a bit!
-Nate
 

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I feel so bad for your dilemma, Peg. Last year when Lily had her annual round of shots she was clearly in pain for a couple days afterwards. Not nearly what you're dealing with, but enough to make me decide she will never have more than one shot at any given time. I'll keep going back every week until she has all the shots her vet recommends.

Nate's the best. He's always the voice of reason and knowledge... with a big dose of compassion. I think he will be a superb vet. :)
 

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I think Nate will be an excellent vet too!!! If we all lived close to his practice, his office would be filled with nothing but chihuahuas. :D
 

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Wow, Nate - I am impressed! Would you consider moving to sunny Florida when you set up your practice? :lol:

Seriously, I am fortunate to have an excellent, compassionate vet who always takes the time to discuss whatever I have questions about. He and his wife are both vets and we also go to the same church-which means I can sometimes catch either of them after church if I have a question about something and possibly save an office visit!! :lol: Just kidding!
 

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:wave: Thank you all! I would love to have a mobile chihuahua-only veterinary practice =) Free exams for all chi-people members! I'm really looking forward to being a vet, I think the biggest barrier new vets face is a lack of real world experience, and inability to communicate well with their clients (in our case we can't REALLY communicate with our patients...woof woof? meow meow?). Explaining things and educating others is something I'm really passionate about, and being a good, patient teacher is a skill that I've got to develop if I want to fulfill my potential as a great vet. Off to work I go, thanks again for your kind comments, this is really a great community, and I'm glad Kristin and I are a part of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, Nate, I could tell you either were a vet or on your way to becoming one and I agree with everyone here - you could have an office full of patients off the bat if we all lived near you.

I can get you a list of what shots Oliver had and when or should be able to when I get that together at home. Now the other thought I had is that all of his shots were in ONE vaccine rolled into one. Is this still the norm or would it have been better that they were not all in one shot. Although once I look I suppose I could have misunderstood that and one visit were certain vaccines, the next 3 weeks other ones, etc. But I always wondered if he was given too much at one time. I guess what I'd like to get down to is in the end - is there a particular shot(s) I should avoid with him but some of the others that probably did not cause the reaction but would protect him might be okay to give. I do know the fear of him not having a rabies vaccine IF he bites someone. That does concern me. Actually the vet I go to now that said NO MORE vaccines did NOT observe the reaction - I changed to him AFTER that happened. The other was more of a walk in clinic where I felt "some" of the vets were good and some were so-so. I did some asking among animal-loving friends and one vets name came up twice so I switched to him.

Anyway - I had heard the same thing that in Oliver's case it might be better to take a risk with him on what he could get than to risk a possible death from shots. But again if I thought there were "certain" shots that probably were not the cause perhaps those could be given every 2-3 years and avoid the most likely causes. But I will try to make out the list of what he did get already so you can give me your most educated suggestion.

Thanks much!
 

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I've been reading this forum daily for several months now and this is my first post. I have a 2 year old chi named Roxy who has had an immune reaction to her rabies vaccine (I believe it is called ischemic dermatopathy). It has caused hair loss at the vaccination site as well as vascular and lymph-node problems. Fortunately it is not life threatening and we are treating her for it at this time. My understanding is that the problem that Roxy is having is fairly new in the chihuahua breed. We are being very cautious with any vaccines at this time. When the time comes (after she is completely healed) we will administer each vaccine one at a time with a 6 month waiting period between each just to ensure she doesn't have another reaction. I am told if she does it will be much worse the second time around. We do know that the rabies vaccine caused this reaction because my vet administers each vaccine in a different part of the body and the rabies site is where the problem started. My vet will never give her rabies again. As was said in an earlier post vaccination protocols are being re-examined by some of the top veterinary schools. Here's a link for UC-Davis' recommendations:

http://www.vmth.ucdavis.edu/vmth/clientinfo/info/genmed/vaccinproto.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Roxys Mom said:
I have a 2 year old chi named Roxy who has had an immune reaction to her rabies vaccine (I believe it is called ischemic dermatopathy). It has caused hair loss at the vaccination site as well as vascular and lymph-node problems.

http://www.vmth.ucdavis.edu/vmth/clientinfo/info/genmed/vaccinproto.html
That was one of the things I read when I researched was that they are finding some dogs later have problems at the vaccine site - even cancer in that area years down the road, so it just makes me a little nervous. I hope that never becomes the case and it sounds like you are taking all precautions, as am I, and doing the right thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Nate,
First of all let me apologize for how lengthy this may be ...

Let me see if I can list Oliver's vaccines here in a way that makes sense to you. As a lay person, it doesn't always make sense to me but I will just tell you what is marked on the charts / receipts I have in front of me.

FYI: Oliver was born 4/25/04 - so almost one year old now
If I'm reading the breeders tags right from the book they gave me ...

at 4 AND 6 weeks he had:
Canine Coronavirus - Parvovirus Vaccine Modified Live and Killed Virus - (Vanguard Plus pfizer) - I think known as a "cocktail"

also from breeder, at 8 weeks he got:
Canine distemper
Adenovirus type 2
Parainfluenza
Parvo Virus
and if it's not different what I just typed, a label again for Canine Coronavirus Vaccine (killed virus) First Dose CV (Pfizer)

Again - all of the above was from the breeder BEFORE I got him. Should Oliver had had so many shots at 4, 6 and 8 weeks - too young - too close together I'm wondering... especially given the vet just basically turned around and gave him all of these again? The breeder said they have been giving shots for years, had been trained and knew what they were doing but they said they hear that all the time, that the vet won't accept their documentation.

From the vet:
12 weeks of age - 7/17/04: weight at this point was 2.4 lbs.#
Distemper
Infectious Canine Hepatitis
Parainfluenza
Parvovirus Infection
On receipt they called this vaccine: DIST-HEP-PARA-PAR SERIES
Following this one shot in the nape of his neck - he had one minor reaction - seemed to have a slight breathing problem just for seconds - vet at clinic never even NOTICED it as he had his back to him - I definitely noticed but it was quick. I mentined it to the doctor and he had no reaction to what I said I saw at all so I let it go as he did seem fine quickly.

A week after shot - Oliver had a LOT of blood in his stools and slight temp so I took him back to the vet. They worried it was parvo and/or coccidia - turned out to be neither according to tests. They did a fecal analysis, parvo fecal (Antigen), and injection of Ketofen and pills - Metronidazole. He never had any more problem with blood in stools after this and never seemed sick. I guess at this point, I probably should have not gone to get these next shots at 15 weeks of age, but I did not realize the above was very possibly a reaction to the 12 week shots --- until later and that's my suspicion now.

From the vet:
15 weeks of age 8/7/04:
Distemper
Adenovirus 2
Parainfluenza
Parvovirus Infection
Coronavirus

20-30 minutes following this one shot in his hind leg - he had a major reaction - entire body swelled, limp, red hot ears, near end he had breathing problems and threw up once as I got to the doctor. They gave him a Benadryl Injection and Dexamethasone injection when I rushed him back.

Does this give you more to go on? Did he get too much / too soon / too young. Or he is just one of those dogs that obviously has a problem with the vaccines. Are some of these shots above important that could be given ALONE that would very likely NOT cause a problem but some that would.

From what I remember with the 12 and 15 week shots from the vet, it was ONE shot - all vaccines in one shot given together. Not sure if he would have done better if they were separted (if that is possible) and spread out.

And again - advice on what you would do in the future. Do I take a chance on the rabies shot? As my vet told me - I just can't tell you what to do - he is your dog and it is a law, but it is your call and I will do whatever you tell me to do. I think this new vet is leary of giving Oliver the rabies vaccine or any shot for that matter now - and he did not even see the reaction. But all I had to do was tell him and his eyes got really big and he said, Peggy - the next time could kill this little guy.

You know I was a cat person before this and none of them had problems with shots haha - but little Oliver does - but other than that he is the most healthy little guy - and I'm just praying the shots he had already don't come back to haunt us in the future.

Again sooo sorry for the length of t his.
 

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oliversmom said:
Now the other thought I had is that all of his shots were in ONE vaccine rolled into one. Is this still the norm or would it have been better that they were not all in one shot.
Normally, distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, parainfluenza (DHPP) are given as a combo shot. Sometimes Corona is thrown in there (DHPPC), but not recommended. This is not usually a big issue, and the reaction is usually due to the adjuvent (what's mixed with the antigens rather than the antigens themselves).

I guess what I'd like to get down to is in the end - is there a particular shot(s) I should avoid with him but some of the others that probably did not cause the reaction but would protect him might be okay to give.
You will need to find out from the vet who gave the vaccinations which vaccination was given when you observed the allergic reaction. This is the one I would avoid, double check with your new vet first.

I do know the fear of him not having a rabies vaccine IF he bites someone. That does concern me. Actually the vet I go to now that said NO MORE vaccines did NOT observe the reaction - I changed to him AFTER that happened.
The concern with rabies and biting is minimal, but it is a small risk. However if the difference is suffering a possible bad vaccine reaction, it's a risk I would be willing to take personally. If this is what your new vet thinks is best, I would trust him with this decision, but make sure he gets the records from the old vet so he knows exactly what transpired.

It sounds like your new vet is very conscious of your special needs which is great, and I'm glad you found him! I'll be able to help you a bit on figuring out which vaccines caused the reaction, but your vet will be the best to ask for advice on how to go about scheduling the vaccines, since he will be the one making the medical decision in the end.

Good luck!

-Nate
 

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oliversmom said:
Nate,
at 4 AND 6 weeks he had:
Canine Coronavirus - Parvovirus Vaccine Modified Live and Killed Virus - (Vanguard Plus pfizer) - I think known as a "cocktail"
Your pup's antibodies from its mothers colustrum makes these vaccines pretty much ineffective. According to guidelines, no vaccines should be given before 6 weeks for this exact reason.

also from breeder, at 8 weeks he got:
Canine distemper
Adenovirus type 2
Parainfluenza
Parvo Virus
and if it's not different what I just typed, a label again for Canine Coronavirus Vaccine (killed virus) First Dose CV (Pfizer)
This should be #1 of 3 I'm guessing the breeder didn't notice a reaction, or it was minimal enough that it was undetected.

The breeder said they have been giving shots for years, had been trained and knew what they were doing but they said they hear that all the time, that the vet won't accept their documentation.
As I explained above, the vaccines are useless if given before 6 weeks, and as far as the vaccine given at 8 weeks, your vet can't be sure of the variables I mentioned in an earlier post. Although it seems like good medical practice, the end result MAY have been too stressful on your puppy's immune system, and taxing it too severely, and overvaccination would make it more susceptable to a vaccine reaction.

From the vet:
12 weeks of age - 7/17/04: weight at this point was 2.4 lbs.#
Distemper
Infectious Canine Hepatitis
Parainfluenza
Parvovirus Infection
On receipt they called this vaccine: DIST-HEP-PARA-PAR SERIES
Following this one shot in the nape of his neck - he had one minor reaction - seemed to have a slight breathing problem just for seconds - vet at clinic never even NOTICED it as he had his back to him - I definitely noticed but it was quick. I mentined it to the doctor and he had no reaction to what I said I saw at all so I let it go as he did seem fine quickly.
Without having seen the dog myself, it would be hard to judge if this breathing problem was due to a vaccine reaction, since it was so temporary, it is possible it could have been out of nervousness, reverse sneeze, or pain. Difficult to tell, so let's take a look at the other occurances.

A week after shot - Oliver had a LOT of blood in his stools and slight temp so I took him back to the vet. They worried it was parvo and/or coccidia - turned out to be neither according to tests. They did a fecal analysis, parvo fecal (Antigen), and injection of Ketofen and pills - Metronidazole. He never had any more problem with blood in stools after this and never seemed sick. I guess at this point, I probably should have not gone to get these next shots at 15 weeks of age, but I did not realize the above was very possibly a reaction to the 12 week shots --- until later and that's my suspicion now.
I will be quite honest, vaccine reactions normally occur within 20 minutes of the vaccination. It is virtually impossible to link the vaccination to GI symptoms a week later. Although one might think that since parvovirus vaccine is a modified live virus, studies have shown that the vaccine cannot revert to the virulent strain which causes diarrhea and other GI symptoms (why they worried it was parvo). It is possible the incident with his stools was entirely unrelated, he may have eaten something inappropriate, or had a bacterial GI infection (campylobacteria) which can't be seen from a simple fecal analysis, it requires gram stain or culture, but Metronidazole would have taken care of it anyways.

From what you've told me so far, it would be difficult to conclude that the vaccinations caused these problems.

From the vet:
15 weeks of age 8/7/04:
Distemper
Adenovirus 2
Parainfluenza
Parvovirus Infection
Coronavirus

20-30 minutes following this one shot in his hind leg - he had a major reaction - entire body swelled, limp, red hot ears, near end he had breathing problems and threw up once as I got to the doctor. They gave him a Benadryl Injection and Dexamethasone injection when I rushed him back.
This is DEFINATELY classis vaccine reaction. NOW I would be worried about giving him additional vaccines.

Question: At 12 weeks, did they also give a Bordatella (intranasal) vaccine as well? I can understand why a Rabies wasn't given at 15 weeks, and why it hasn't been given yet.

Did he get too much / too soon / too young. Or he is just one of those dogs that obviously has a problem with the vaccines. Are some of these shots above important that could be given ALONE that would very likely NOT cause a problem but some that would.
As far as I know, you cannot purchase these vaccines separately, and if you could, it's even more unlikely a vet office would carry them in separate vials. The combo vaccine is very common and very effective.
If your pup were never to get the DHPP combo again, I wouldn't worry too much. I WOULD however, consider asking your vet if vaccinating for Bordatella (since it doesn't look like it was given ever) should be done, and Rabies as well (at least once). Your puppy is out of "puppyhood" so it is really out of the range of "great risk" for parvo and distemper, the 2 big worries. Rabies is rare depending on your demographic area, but Bordatella is alive, well, and rampant especially at the animal hospital.

And again - advice on what you would do in the future. Do I take a chance on the rabies shot? As my vet told me - I just can't tell you what to do - he is your dog and it is a law, but it is your call and I will do whatever you tell me to do. I think this new vet is leary of giving Oliver the rabies vaccine or any shot for that matter now - and he did not even see the reaction.
Leary for a good reason! If your dog is known to have had a vaccine reaction in the past, a vet presented with this situation doesn't want to make any recommendations that could potentially jeopardize your dog's life. He's trying to cover his tail if you know what I mean! =) Ask him if he really things rabies is a danger with your given living situation, and if avoiding it is the greater of the two evils. If he says "it's your choice"...tell him you're not asking him to tell you to give the vaccine or not, you're asking him if he thinks your dog is at great risk for Rabies. If he doesn't, my gut would tell me that the vaccination is not worth the risk. If he does, I might consider it.

But all I had to do was tell him and his eyes got really big and he said, Peggy - the next time could kill this little guy.
That's an answer to your question if I ever heard one =)

You know I was a cat person before this and none of them had problems with shots haha - but little Oliver does - but other than that he is the most healthy little guy - and I'm just praying the shots he had already don't come back to haunt us in the future.
The only thing that can be detrimental in the future are the vaccine-mediated sarcomas we've been seeing in cats over the years. Cats, and some dogs have had incidence where the adjuvent in the vaccine causes a cancerous growth to grow at the injection site. This is why most vet hospitals given vaccines in the SAME place everytime (Rabies right rear, Distemper front right, Feline Leukemia Rear Left) and as low on the leg as possible, in case a sarcoma does form, the vet has the option to amputate as low on the leg as possible.

Now don't get stressed out or overwhelmed by any of this Peg =) Hopefully from here you can ask your vet if your pup is at risk for these diseases given your area and lifestyle, and make your decisions from there.

Good luck! -Nate

Again sooo sorry for the length of t his.[/quote]
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Nate, you are the BEST and I hardly know you. You took a lot of time to respond to that. I do not recall anyone giving Oliver an intranasal Bordatella shot - I will ask about that. And I will talk to my vet in greater detail. I had already made up my mind after the BAD reaction - and before going to the new vet - that Oliver was not getting any more shots - and that was following my research on the internet. But then I started thinking perhaps there are certain SINGLE vaccines that he should get that would not likely hurt him but I think it's possible this is just one case where it is better to take the risk rather than possibly have another bad outcome from the shots. But I am going to print your advice and keep it in my file and consider the rabies perhaps in a few months when he is a year and a half and ask about the intranasal injection.

I can't thank you enough for taking the time to answer my LONG post.
 
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