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Hello. I am new to this forum and a new dog owner. I have a small breed dog, currently about 5 lbs and she is due to have her rabies vaccine. When she got her distemper vaccine (I separated distemper and rabies), she was lethargic all day, crying during the night and having trouble walking (her hind leg was painful).
I am a little nervous about her receiving the rabies vaccine and I was hoping someone can tell me how their dogs reacted. Can I expect similar symptoms? Worse? Any puppies out there that didn't have any side effects at all or is that pretty uncommon?
Thank you in advance!
 

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Some lethargy, achiness, and general malaise is pretty normal with vaccines (in humans, too), though it's also normal to see none of that. Since your pup seems a little sensitive, you may see more of the same as she went through with the distemper, but it's impossible to predict for sure. My oldest (just under 20lbs as an adult so fairly small at his first rabies vaccination, though I don't remember his weight at that time) never had trouble. We now live in a rabies-free country, so my younger dog hasn't had that vaccination.

There is an extremely small percentage of dogs that have truly severe reactions, but it's rare and impossible to predict before it's happened. Like, really rare. I've only ever known one dog personally that was exempt from further rabies vaccinations because it was potentially unsafe for that particular individual. However, rabies is infinitely more unsafe - incurable once symptoms appear and 100% lethal - and not vaccinating could put you at risk for hefty fines and (if the worst happens and they bite someone) your dog at risk for being seized, quarantined in an animal control or shelter facility, or even euthanized to test for rabies. The vaccine is 100% worth it.

Having your local emergency clinic's phone number and address on hand just in case might be helpful to give you a better sense of security that you know who to contact outside your vet's open hours, but that's something every pet owner should have available anyway. And never be afraid to call your vet with questions if something seems unusual during their open hours. Phone calls are free, and any good vet would rather someone call in for something that's normal and not a concern than wait too long with an issue that should have had immediate veterinary intervention.
 

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I think sometimes part of the perceived negative reaction to a vaccination (not in the case of those rare severe reactions, but the typical lethargy and and the like) is actually a reaction to the stress of the vet visit in general. Not saying it is in THIS case, but for dogs that don't often go on car rides and/or find new people, places, animals, etc. stressful, a vet visit is A Lot. My gregarious dogs have never had much of a reaction to routine shots, whereas a sweet but neurotic vet-fearing doggo I had many years ago, may he rest in peace, was always barfy and mopey for days after his jabs.

I'd discuss your concerns with the vet when you go for the shot - they can have you hang around for a bit after the jab to watch for a serious reaction, so they'll be on hand to treat it if something does occur. They can also give you some advice on aftercare for routine discomfort at the injection site and/or from the normal vaccine response.
 

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She received the shot in the hind leg? My vet did say the muscle could be tender for the next day or so, and lethargy and crying could be related to the stress of the vet visit.

My 1st family dog had a reaction to the rabbies vaccine. I'll just say, you'll know if they have a reaction, it won't be a question. They ordered a different rabbies vaccine for her the next time and she was fine. It's always a small risk, but it doesn't outweigh the alternative of not having the immunization as mentioned, the vet is prepared to deal with adverse reactions (although rare) and there are alternative vaccinations if one does not agree.
 
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