How to know the signs your dog's had a bad reaction to vaccines

How to know the signs your dog's had a bad reaction to vaccines

PORTLAND, Ore. – Anyone who's had a dog has learned that vaccinations are the best way to protect them from diseases ranging from distemper to rabies.

But what if that vaccination or series of vaccinations caused a life-changing condition in your pet?

KATU News reporter Mary Loos' dog, Lucy, went in for a routine vaccination but wound up with a permanent illness. So Loos looked into the issue and found what you should know in order to protect your own pet.

"You can see lethargy and slight fevers within 24 to 36 hours afterward, but it usually only lasts about a day," said veterinary specialist Dr. Robert Franklin. "But I tell them that you watch – watch for any type of swellings that may occur. Watch for any type of bumps on the skin (and) watch, obviously, for breathing."

He says that watching your pet can be key to saving its life, especially when it comes to some of the more severe allergic reactions.

Believe it or not, there are specialists that handle these extreme cases.

Lucy was one of those extreme cases, developing a condition called vasculitis, which caused the hair on her ears to fall out.

Veterinary dermatologist Dr. Terese DeManuelle treated her and says there is a way to find out if the dog is protected.

"What we talk about is to perform blood vaccine titers," she said. "There are those available for distemper and parvo and rabies, and they're fairly accurate. And if those don't show that Lucy is protected, then it is dangerous not to vaccinate them."

Vaccinations for the most part are safe and extreme cases are rare. But the most important thing is to have an open conversation with your vet about what's best for your pet.

Vets KATU News spoke with Thursday agreed on one main thing: Keep vaccinations separate. Don't do rabies and distemper all in one day, especially with a puppy or smaller dog.

And if you're worried, ask, don't be afraid to have a conversation with your vet and work with them to find the best solution for your pet's long-term health.