Dog Owner’s Comments About Leptospirosis Vaccine

Ron Hines DVM PhD

   Leptospirosis In Your Dog

   A Science-Based Vaccination Schedule For Your Dog

    Is One Dose Size Of Vaccine OK For All Size Dogs?

I hope that some day vaccine manufacturers will admit that they have a problem and recommend that their leptospirosis-containing vaccine dose size be based on your dog’s body weight. One dose size does not fit a chihuahua and a Saint Bernard. I also hope that they will reformulate their vaccines to be less inclined to cause these violent reactions. But until they do, you will have to make your own decisions. I will add your comments (but not your name or email address) if you send them to me.

Owner updates in green  My comments in purple


September 8, 2023

Hello Dr. Hines, It hasn’t been long since our dog Jake died. I’m still hurting over his loss. Jake was a 10 yo, mixed collie X black lab. He was in excellent health when he received two vaccinations on June 3rd of this year, Lyme, and a combo Leptospirosis, Bordetella/Parainfluenza, and Distemper/parainfluenza/Parvo boosters (Nobivac Canine 1-DAPPVL4) at his annual “wellness” exam. A week or so later, he began frequent coughing/hacking. His poop turned orange. He went from being a VERY active dog, more than you’d expect for his age, to exhausted just standing up. We took him back to our vet. He had a 105 fever. They ran some tests and said that he was very anemic and had evidence that his red blood cells were being destroyed within his blood stream and he had lost 10 pounds. The vets started Jake on IV fluids and antibiotics. Merck, the makers of the vaccine paid to have a PCR test and an MAT test run since the vets suspected that Jake had caught leptospirosis. A reaction to the vaccines was never considered. The test results were negative for the presence of living leptospira which eliminated that theory. On July 15, Jake passed away in our arms. I hate not having answers. Jake meant the world to me. He brought so much laughter into my life, and he just acted so human at times [abbreviated].

S.M., Appalachian area of Eastern USA.

9-9-2023 Dear S.M., What a sad email for me to receive. I am so sorry that this occurred. Unfortunately, lepto vaccines are just dead, ground up leptospira bacteria – toxins and all. Not much different from the bacterins of the 1800s and early 1900s. I believe that your suspicions are correct in that Jake developed a case of autoimmune mediated hemolytic anemia, triggered by the vaccine. Do not blame your veterinarians for that. It is the vaccine manufacturers that heavily market these vaccines and keep the true incidence of post-vaccination illness under their hats that are to blame. (read here) If I had my way, there would be a box warning on their vial labels. Your case reminds me of another very similar case that occurred in Italy in 2019. That dog had been vaccinated a few days before becoming sick and anemic with a different brand of leptospirosis-containing vaccine. (read here) I know it of little solace to you, but the immunosuppressants you asked me about could not save that dog in Italy and probably would not have saved Jake either. Seeking treatment at the finest veterinary schools in this Country would probably have yielded no better an outcome. That is often the case when dogs develop autoantibodies that destroy their own red blood cells. R.S.H.


March 25, 2023

Our beloved Bella, a 13 year old American Eskimo, who was in very good health (very good blood work and first Lepto dose 6 weeks prior to the second one that I suspect caused a reaction). She went for the 2nd shot on March 17th around 6 pm. She had no reaction, or symptoms, she ate, ran and was acting normal. On Monday, March 20th she was fine as well. She ate breakfast, went out twice, normal stools and pee. At 3:05 pm out of nowhere she coughed once, then got up and collapsed on my legs. I tried lifting her, but there was no tension in her legs, she peed and pooed, her tongue was blue within 2-3 minutes, I tried CPR and raced to the closest vet (18 min drive) she passed and they couldn’t revive her. Does this sound like something the Lepto vaccine can create? 72 hours after, no symptoms, then a sudden death? The vet believes it’s a sarcoma cancer on her heart that burst, but I don’t know. What do you think doctor? Thank you so much T. G.

Dear T, I am inclined to agree with your veterinarian. Earlier in the month, a reader in Houston reported similar signs to me in his 9-year-old German Shepherd, Coby, that had been acting perfectly normal but then collapsed in his arms a few moments later and died. The autopsy results were the same as Bella’s, a hemangiosarcoma in its spleen and on its heart that suddenly burst.


February 18, 2023

My sweet dog Flower died of massive internal bleeding 16 days after receiving the Leptospirosis Vaccine. I took my two dogs for their annual check up on Feb 1, 2023. They had had one Lepto shot last year, but I wasn’t able to return for the booster. So, the vet recommended they start from the beginning with the shots. Flower, was 14.5 years old and healthy mini labradoodle. Soon after the shot, I noticed a change in her. She had a hard time walking. A few days later she was throwing up and pooping in the house. Within a week, the poop was black and she was clearly ill. I took her to an ER and the ER Dr reviewed our dog’s medical records. She said, “your dog is not well, and it’s likely a reaction to the Lepto shot, so she may have had an underlying condition.” She had three transfusions. We brought her home with high hopes on day 15. But she faded quickly. We rushed her back to the ER, and they suspected massive internal bleeding, even a brain bleed. She was put to sleep. We are devastated. Grateful for the years we had with her. But I’m angry I wasn’t more aware of the complications with this shot. I’m also questioning the advice of the vet that I restart the series of shots again in such a mature dog. 1) I don’t think she needed the shot; 2) I doubt she should have restored the series again; 3) I want to help others become aware of the risks. It’s too late for Flower. Others need to know about the risks this vaccine presents.

D. C., Tempe, Arizona 


June 22, 2022

My 5-pound, 3 year old Yorkie had a severe reaction to the Leptospirosis vaccine.  I thought that I was losing her. She received the shot at 4:30 p.m. and the vet’s office was closed when I realized something was horribly wrong. I contacted the ER vet’s office and was told they were so inundated with emergencies that they couldn’t see her for many hours.  They provided helpful information though. She previously had a severe reaction when she was 1, which was from Rabies or the Leptospirosis vaccine. I was shocked that all dogs receive the same dosage.  Is there nothing pet owners can do in Texas to have the dosage based on weight?  When I asked my vet, he responded they all receive the same by law.  As the owner, can the vet honor my request that she be given a smaller dosage based on her weight?  Is it true that the bad reaction can even get worse as it builds up from year to year?

N. J., N*******

I am not an attorney. So, I cannot advise you. But I would never give my own yorkie a full dose of leptospirosis vaccine. There is no law anywhere in the USA that I am aware of that requires that a dog receive a leptospirosis-containing vaccine. But state veterinary licensing boards might severely discipline a veterinarian who does not follow the directions that are supplied with the vaccine vials. Those say full dose for all size dogs. And yes, anaphylactic reactions tend to get more violent with every subsequent exposure. (read here) R.S.H.


February 26, 2019


Thank you for your vaccination information — it was very helpful and served as a good reminder about making careful and warranted decisions. At the conclusion, you asked about any dog having a reaction to the leptospirosis vaccine. In my twenty years of dachshund ownership, three times I have had 3 different dachshunds respond after the vaccine with swollen faces.  In each case and ultimately with all future dachshunds, I just eliminated that [lepto] vaccine.  However, in our situation, the risks of exposure were quite low since my dogs were on concrete breezeways and supervised in a fence situation.

Changing breeds this year to the Miniature American Shepherd. Now, I have to weigh that breed’s general drug sensitivity issues with yearly vaccines and all the preventatives that are available. It is totally overwhelming — so much information, ideas and options.  Our puppy is genetically clear for MDR1 [mutation] but I am reading lots of information about general drug sensitivities so it’s rather overwhelming. Fortunately, I am working with a progressive veterinarian who listens to my point of view and helps me assess my current living situation and correlate that with risks that my particular dogs face.

Thanks so much, C. P., Harrodsburg, KY


November 20, 2018

Thank you for the interesting and thorough articles. My local vet (well, one of the new vets that’s now at the clinic) recommended lepto vaccination at last week’s check-up. My 60 lb dog now has lumps at the under-base of both hind legs & at the vaccine site. The careful tech explained that there may be tenderness or a lump at the injection site, but it appeared after the belly lumps by her back legs. The paperwork did have a paragraph about anaphylactic\serious reactions usually within 1-3 hours after injection. We didn’t see any of those reactions. I plan to call & talk to them tomorrow. Thanks again for putting in the effort to gather info about this vaccination, & happy Thanksgiving!! December 29,2018: The swelling lasted about 5 days, but Peaches did not seem to be in pain. The vets office offered to examine her again  but wanted to charge another office visit fee. We monitored her until she recovered, & won’t get another lepto shot. Happy New year!

KL & Peaches, the Shelter Mutt


January 23, 2018

I know my story is different than the stories you normally receive. It is a tragedy related to NOT getting the leptospirosis vaccine. We first noticed something was wrong with Luna, our otherwise healthy 8-yr-old yellow lab Wednesday, December 20, 2017 when she started having trouble walking and her left hind leg seemed to be injured. We took her to the vet, [who] felt it was most likely a strain or pulled muscle.  Over the next two days, Luna started vomiting and became lethargic. We took her to the emergency vet hospital where she remained for the next four days – over the Christmas holiday. Many tests were conducted, IV fluids and antibiotics were administered, lymphoma was ruled out, and a sample was sent for leptospirosis testing because both her kidney and liver function test results were abnormal. While the lepto test results were still pending, she started to show improvement so she came home on Dec 26th with a lot of prescriptions. She was still not interested in eating much, which we assumed was because the antibiotics were making her queasy. She appeared to be recovering over the next week, but then started to seem more lethargic again and we took her back to the hospital on Jan 2.  She was put on a leptospirosis watch, and testing revealed continued abnormalities with her kidneys, liver and pancreas, which worsened over the next 48 hours until she went into severe renal failure. She was euthanasia on Jan 4, only 15 days after the first indication that something was wrong. We received the test results a couple of hours after euthanasia. It was positive for leptospirosis. Luna had not been vaccinated for lepto because I didn’t know there was a vaccine and my vet did not tell me about it, even though we live in the wet & woodsy Pacific NW, a perfect environment for the bacteria.  I’ll always wonder if being vaccinated could have prevented her infection, or at least prevented her death from it.  Sadly, we’ll never know.

P.J. University Place, Washington


November 1, 2016

Dear Dr. Hines,
Our 11 year old Maltese has suspected HE and is suffering from all the same symptoms you listed. He got worse over the last few days and started hitting his head, constant pacing, and head hanging to the right side. He’s been suffering from ascites and muscle loss since he got a lepto vaccine in June.

About a month ago, they suspected [that it was] IBD. We went to a different internist and neurologist yesterday. They started him on meds for HE, they still suspect a brain tumor or cancer related to IBD. We scheduled an MRI for this Thursday just in case. 

V. & S., Silver Springs, Maryland


June 22, 2016

My 8 year old shih Tzu experienced a severe reaction to a Merck Nobivac® DA2PPL vaccine. The vet never told me the booster had five different shots in it, or she would never have been given it in the first place. Nor did they tell me it had leptospirosis (which she did not need).

My experience with Merck was much like yours. I asked for records of complaints on this shot’s serial numbers and was told that was “proprietary,” but that a “handful” of reactions occurred. I was told to write the USDA. I am sure they have a wealth of complaints, but if they aren’t forced to disclose them by any federal regulation, why would they?

C.L., Richardson, Texas


October 8, 2015

My two-year old Rhodesian Ridgeback (who also was my medical dog) developed a mast-cell tumor within weeks of receiving a lepto vaccine. I lost her shortly thereafter, due to the cancer which was very aggressive. She had always had a weak immune system and I really didn’t even want her having the vaccine at the time as I thought she was stressed. But my vet wasn’t okay with her not having it. I never thought the cancer and the vaccine could be related until discovering what appears to be a link with Ridgebacks, MCT’s and MCT’s and the lepto vaccine. My Solomi meant the world to me…Three years later and I am still heart-broken.

Blessings, B.


October 7, 2015

The kennel required a leptospirosis shot before we could board our dog there. After getting the Lepto shot my dog went into renal failure and died. This was the first time she had received a Lepto shot. The vet reported it to the vaccine manufacturer, but of course the vaccine manufacturer said it was not related. The Lepto shot was the only shot given that day and was the only thing different. (Same food, same environment, etc.)
Is there a vet or government site to report this?
Thank you,
Lauri, Tarrant County, Texas


November 7, 2014

You requested: “If your dog suffered a serious reaction after receiving a leptospirosis-containing vaccine, please let me know.”

My dog died because a leptospirosis-containing vaccine caused Hemolytic Anemia in my beloved chihuahua and killed my dog. [letter abbreviated]

Feel free to call me

R.F., Colorado Springs, Colorado


October 18, 2014

Dr. Hines:

I just finished reading two online articles you published about anaphylactic shock & leptospirosis in which you asked readers to contact you if their pet had an allergic reaction to the vaccine. On October 15, 2014, my healthy, rambunctious Bulldog puppy received her second puppy shot, the DHLPP, administered by our vet of the past 10 years. By the time we reached home, I realized something was terribly wrong. I turned around & returned to our vet’s office with an unconscious puppy. The puppy was given oxygen & a steroid shot and seemed to rally. The vet said she’d had a rare allergic reaction and could go home as long as I was there to watch her for the day or the puppy could stay at the vet clinic to be monitored. I opted to leave her there because I was so shaken by her collapse. About an hour later, the vet’s office phoned to say that I should come immediately because the puppy was now critical. My husband & I returned and were with our puppy when her little heart stopped beating. The puppy had an anaphylactic shock reaction & bleeding in her lungs & abdomen. I think our vet was as shocked as we were & had never had such a severe allergic reaction as a result of a puppy shot. We are still stunned to think our otherwise healthy 21 lb puppy is gone only because we were trying to do everything right to protect her health.

I hope our experience can help in some way with your research. If I can provide any other information or details, please let me know.

Sincerely,  J. M.


September 17, 2014

[I can not print many portions of this email, the lady was just too upset with her veterinarian after her experience. Vets have to follow vaccine label instructions; its Pharmaceutical companies, the USDA and the AVMA that bear the blame. ]

We have a five lb 5 oz chihuahua. ****************** said that Benny was acting weird when I asked what was happening she said he was shaking and he seemed sick. By the time I returned he had already thrown up twice and was convulsing. He was gasping for air and I thought he was going to die. *****************  gave him some kind of a shot to stop the vomiting and another of Benadryl®. And sent us home saying for us to continue with Benadryl round the clock for the rest of the weekend and go to ER if he seemed worse. ***************** But the wheezing continued for a few weeks. ***************** She [veterinarian] said she would only recommend two half doses from now on. **************** Don’t know about long term effects, he seems okay now. I will never get the leptospirosis vaccination again.

S.M., Chicago, IL USA


August 26, 2014

Dear Dr Hines

Our 3 year old English staffordshire Finn was recently struck down by what I suspect is vaccination-caused leptospirosis. He is in treatment at present and I have attached his blood work and treatment for you to consider.He was vaccinated on the 8th of August with xx xxxxxxxx. Somehow despite being super vigilant about his exposure to streams, puddles and stagnant water here in Hong Kong, he appears to have contracted lepto. The PCR is yet to come back but he has all the symptoms- vomiting, dehydration, lethargy, diarrhea and joint pain. He is still in treatment (IV fluids, antibiotics (amoxicillin) and has tested negative for pancreatitis).Any advice on his treatment would be most appreciated, but it seems he is another dog who may have been injured by the cure.

Regards, C., Hong Kong

[ September 3, 2014 update ]

Sadly Finn passed away the night following my email. His blood work continued to deteriorate to the point that the vet advised his kidneys were shutting down and his liver was also failing. In the end though it was his lungs that killed him, he bled significant amounts and was essentially starting to choke on his own blood when we chose to put him down. I may have been premature in my presumption that the vaccination was responsible, however at just over two weeks since the administration of the vaccine I was quite suspicious. One vet advised that the PCR blood and urine test confirmed leptospirosis and that it was a different strain to those covered by the vaccination. The other vet said the strain wasn’t identified so I will get hold of the results and let you know.I will send the last lot of blood results in another email. Thanks for the time you took to respond, I am sure you must receive a lot of sad emails from very upset dog owners and I am really grateful for your time both on the email and your informative site

Regards, C.


July 23, 2014

Dear Dr. Hines, If you need to put this on your site, please change the dog’s name and DO NOT include mine. I am happy to provide you personally with additional information, however. I’m researching online to see what might be wrong with my 6.5 year old female Doberman, Bubbles. She was my husband’s before we met, and while he was deployed, I respected his wishes and only continued the vaccinations he had usually gotten her. Now that he’s retired but in training for another job out of town, I took her in with my new puppy for shots. I had always vaccinated my dogs for Leptospirosis. We camp and hike a lot and the nastier the water, the more dogs (especially Labs, my dog of choice) love to drink it! Bubbles hadn’t been vaccinated for Leptospirosis, and the vet tech said that the cure rate was very low and if contracted, the disease was usually fatal. I hadn’t know that then, and I now know this is not true. She had her 3-4 week Lepto booster a few weeks ago and began to lose energy. By this past weekend, she was refusing to eat even eggs or bacon, drinking a lot, but unable to hold down even water. She was taken to the vet Monday and has yet to return. She is expected to need to stay overnight again tonight. She presented with a fever, lethargy, vomiting, depression, and stiffness. A Lyme’s Disease test came back positive and we’re still waiting for the Lepto test, but the vet suspects she is suffering from that as well. My first thought was that the vaccine caused it since she first got it as an older dog. (Like yourself, I’m NOT an anti-vaccine person either, but agree that corporations out to make money are not operating in anyone’s best interest except for their CEO’s pockets.) The vet says this wasn’t the case (vaccine caused Lepto)—that it was probably one of the other strains of the bacteria that the vaccine doesn’t cover. After reading many articles including yours I don’t know that I believe the vet. I am copying the articles including yours and will print and distribute copies to the doctors at my animal clinic. She is on two antibiotics (Doxycycline and another I’m forgetting) and received a third antibiotic injection this morning. Her platelet, white (and I think red) counts are getting into dangerous levels. They think her kidneys are starting to fail and they are saying this and the platelet counts are an autoimmune disease. She doesn’t seem to be getting any better. I’m
feeling so guilty and a little duped and also very worried about my 17 week old lab puppy. I will not be getting either of
these dogs this vaccine again. I always got my dogs Lyme’s Disease vaccinations too, but now I am questioning that too since antibiotics also cure this.

Sincerely, A. A.


June 22, 2014

Dear Dr. Hines,

On May 8th 2014 we took Maggie our Beautiful and full of life 4 year old Cocker Spaniel to have her annual vaccination. We were advised that there had been outbreaks of Leptospirosis in the area and that we should have Maggie vaccinated. Trusting what we were told and that this was safe, we allowed them to vaccinate Maggie (wrong move). We were advised that Maggie may vomit and be a little lethargic for a few days but it would wear off. The next day she did vomit didn’t want to eat or drink and was very slow getting about. So of course we thought she’s OK. This was just what the Vet had said would happen. But Maggie got worse. She was lethargic, shaking,cried when touched, would eat or drink, didn’t want to do anything and looked depressed. This was not our energetic puppy. Maggie seemed to be in so much pain and distress we called our Vets office and they had us bring Maggie in immediately, She had a low grade fever so they did the usual blood work, stool and urine samples but every think can back clear. We asked the Vet if Maggi could  have had a reaction to the vaccine and was told she could have had a reaction or it could be just a coincident but it would be hard to prove it was anything to do with the vaccine. So the Vet put Maggie on pain killers which just made her even more lethargic. Maggie got worse, so few days later we were sent to the Emergency hospital were they tested Maggie for polyarthritis which came back clear so they put her on stronger pain meds and told us to come back in 10 days. To be honest Our Vet has done everything possible – even going to the vaccine companies to try to get them to help with the cost of all this. But the Vaccine company said there wasn’t enough proof that this was the result of the vaccine, they also said that this breed was prone to symptom’s of the neurological problem that Maggie is displaying. It doesn’t look good for our beautiful brown eyed, blond beauty but we felt the need to write this in the hopes that no one else has to go though this heart we are going through.

Dear Dr. Hines, You are correct on July 23rd 2014 we had to have our beautiful girl put to sleep it was one of the hardest things we have ever had to do still breaks my Heart thinking of that night.  We tried every thing and would of done more. But after taking Maggie to the Emergency hospital who did more testing, seeing 2 specialist, an MRI and spinal tap it came back that Maggie had meningitis.  They would not commit but thought it was vaccine related she was put on a course of steroids. We did think Maggie was on the mend she started to pick up be her normal playful self but little did we know that the steroids were only masking her symptoms.  Then on the 23rd Maggie had problems standing so we rushed her to our local vet who said Maggie was paralyzed in her front legs and that she though it was neurological. My Maggie looked at me with those big brown eyes saying enough mom we knew it was time to let her go.  As I said earlier we would have done more but our vet told us there was nothing more that could be done so as I held my baby and told her how much we loved her she peacefully passed away.   We had Maggie cremated and have her home with us and I speak to her all the time but I miss her and still expect to see her sitting at the front door when I come home .  The vaccine company did send a check for $500.00 which I told my vet to keep (but they used it to pay for Maggie’s cremation). The vaccine company would not admit that it was anything to do with the vaccine saying it could have been caused by a bee sting or mosquito but I know she was fine until she had the lepto vaccine I have told my friends about this vaccine as I just hope and pray that no one else has to go through this.  Thank you for your concern.  L.J.  L.J.B., Ontario, Canada


April 23, 2014

My 3 year old yellow lab, Libby, received a Lepto vaccine on January 15, 2014. Four days later, she was drinking twice as much water as usual and not acting herself. I noticed that she is walking slower, leaving the room to be alone, and appearing tired. After a week, she had diarrhea and was drinking a lot of water and urinating more frequently. She developed a fever and was vomiting up her regular food. I called the Vet and asked if she could have had a reaction to the vaccine. He said no “not likely” and just keep an eye on her, she might have picked up a bug. She began to act as if her throat hurt and refused to eat any dried or crunchy food. She would only eat scrambled eggs. Within a day, she refused all food and her diarrhea continued. She [came] to have belly discomfort, bloating and appeared cramping when she tried to squat. I took her back to the same Vet where he was puzzled as to what was bothering her. She was running a low grade fever. He gave her a shot for nausea and Amox [amoxicillin ?] to fight a possible infection. He x-rayed her pancreas and intestines but found nothing wrong. He checked her stool for parasites and took a blood sample. He sent us home with medication. Libby seemed a little more perky, because she wasn’t throwing up… but she was not better. Over the weekend, she was able to eat a few tablespoons of food and was still drinking huge amounts of water and urinating more frequently. Her stool and urine appeared rusty colored. I got her in to the Vet the first thing next morning, where they x-rayed her stomach and found that it was full. That was impossible, because she wasn’t eating. They diagnosed Ileus and performed a barium test, started an IV, continued the antibiotics, took a blood sample, and kept her overnight. The next day, her [red] blood count had dropped from 41 to 20, her heart rate increased to 140 with blood in her urine and stool and droplets running out her nose. I kept insisting that she had an adverse reaction to the Lepto vaccine and the Vet kept dismissing it. The Vet wanted to do a stomach ultrasound and further tests, but I immediately moved Libby to a critical care facility 15 miles away, where she was treated immediately and monitored every hour. The stomach ultrasound was performed which found an enlarged spleen, liver and lymph nodes. This Vet (who was a critical care specialist) first suspected an adverse reaction to the vaccine, but after talking with Libby’s regular Vet, dismissed it. The critical care Vet suspected cancer and sent a “unique” blood test out for diagnosis. I’m still waiting for the results. If positive abnormal platelets, they want to do a bone marrow test. I’m not convinced she has cancer. But, I am convinced that she has had an adverse reaction to the Lepto vaccine. Tonight, Libby’s blood count increased slightly to 23 and her heart rate lowered to 120. She was given a blood transfusion with immediate positive results halfway through the procedure…giving her energy and comfort. Hours later, she was given a low grade cancer medicine in her IV. She’s still refusing solid food but drinking lots of water and urinating frequently (still with evidence of blood). I find it so hard to [believe] that my dog’s symptoms weren’t caused by the vaccine . She was a perfectly healthy, happy, energetic, dog…eating well with absolutely no signs of illness before she went in on the 15th for a Bordetella vaccine. She didn’t need the Lepto vaccine. [abbreviated] (4/6/15 entry: Owner subsequently informed me that Libby died)

C.H., Rochester Hills, MI


April 4, 2014

My miniature dachshund [Elli] has had serious reaction[s] to this vaccination. We had to give her Benadryl before she got her shots and at times we would also have to take her back to the vets for a shot to bring the swelling down in her face. We lost her in November of 2013. She had her yearly shots and a week later she became ill. She [developed] issues with her kidneys and we weren’t able to stop the renal failure. She passed away 3 weeks later. We don’t know what caused the issue but it may be her reaction to the vaccines. We have her sister and she has never had an issue with it. We now have a 9-week old puppy and our vet said we should give her shots over a few weeks instead of at one time. I think if she has a reaction the first time, we won’t continue to give her yearly boosters of the lepto vaccine. I just wanted to let you of our experience with the vaccine.

Thank you,  K. V.


March 11, 2014

I believe our dog died due to a “distemper combo” shot
I took our dog to our vet for an annual exam and vaccinations. Our dog was a 7.5 years old small munsterlander that had been running with me 4 and 1/2 miles about 3 times per week. He was also very active in our yard and continually playing with our 6 and 9 year old children. After his “distemper combo” (now I know that included distemper, A2,PA, LP, and parvo) and a Bronchicine injection he wasn’t acting quite right (just slower moving and generally not himself). He began with diarrhea about 2 days later followed by vomiting on day 4. I brought him back to the vet. They did x rays which were clear. He was given anti-diarrheals, an anti-vomiting injection, a B-12 injection and some IV fluids. He was also given ID food and probiotics. Our dog seemed to “perk up” for a day or two after this treatment. In the mean time I started researching online what could possibly be wrong. I started looking up vaccine reactions and called the vet telling him of my concerns over a reaction to the vaccine. I explained that he had approximately 5 mild symptoms of a reaction, a few moderate symptoms, and I was concerned over an autoimmune reaction (because at a year old he had a reaction to the Lyme vaccine and I decided not to allow him to receive the Lyme vaccine after that one incident). I could tell he didn’t really believe the vaccine was the cause but told me I could bring him in for blood work to rule out an autoimmune anemia. He said that gastrointestinal problems can take some time to resolve.The next day they said the blood work was “fine”. I informed the practice that he still wasn’t eating, the diarrhea continued, and the vomiting returned. They changed his meds. Finally after 2 weeks they did an ultrasound and told us he needed to be put down because “all of his organs” were completely swollen and they suspected “cancer that had been there for some time”. We knew our dog was not going to make it more than a day but took him home anyway to say our goodbyes. I wish I would have known what I now know. I do not believe it was an “ongoing cancer”. I believe he had a severe reaction and autoimmune response/suppression to the vaccination. I hope to never be an uninformed pet owner again. I am more informed and our next dog will not be subjected to the yearly combo vaccinations and I will do my research just like I do with the vaccination schedule for my children.

Sincerely,  L.L., Harmony, NJ


March 6, 2014

My 5 year old Teacup suffered a serve anaphylactic attack after receiving Lepto in her Parvo combo ~ looked at past puppy vaccines and vaccine given at spay time there was no Lepto in the shot. I took her immediately ~ she was given Prednisone and Diphenhydramine and famotidine for her stomach.

P.G.  Providence, RI


March 6, 2014

Hi Doc,

Our family has raised dogs for 75 years. In the last 10 yrs we’ve seen various reactions to the Lepto shot. The most recent and most dangerous was a 4 month old puppy who became paralyzed within 6 hrs. The family were diligent in taking their pup into for its second visit in for a second DPv shot. The older vet paid her no mind at all and injected the puppy with a 7 way shot.After dinner the puppy couldn’t get up or stand up and could only lift his head. She immediately called the vet and he said its a normal reaction. (Fool is the kindest word I’ll use here.) She called me next and I said not a normal reaction at all – run to an emergency clinic and tell them what happened. This was in NC. I don’t know what they actually did, but by the next morning he was back to normal. I did advise them to continue to watch him closely, and now his immune system has been compromised through no fault of their own. They changed vets immediately. I tell this story to every single family who comes to visit or to pick up their puppy. We have heard many stories of many different reactions. This was the worst. Thank you for your work and dedication to the health of our pets.
Take care,

Take care, D. Aiken, S.C.


February 19, 2014

In 2007 after listening to a friend who knows Dr. D. , I asked my vet about not doing yearly vaccines and not doing the Lepto vaccine at all. I was told absolutely not, we had Lepto in the area, humans can get it from pets. I did at that time say with all our Vizslas (think it was 7 at that time) we would separate yearly vaccines from rabies boosters and that was done until March 23, 2011. Later in 2007, when one of our dogs was hospitalized at Ohio State for surgery I asked the same questions and was told we were probably over vaccinating and it had been discussed at Ohio State but protocol was still yearly. In March 2011 I was told the vet we preferred at our local clinic was leaving the practice and area. Instead of coming out in May for yearly and July for Rabies boosters she came out 7 days before leaving. Why she did what she did I dont know, but 4 of our dogs got the yearly combo cocktail and the rabies booster also. I only found out because the tech with her said my pug was due rabies that year and the vet’s aid wait to give it until later. (My first pug was diagnosed with encephalitis and had to be put down January 2006 shortly after getting her yearly vaccine and her one year rabies booster together – wonder if my old vet realized the problem). Moki immediately had a reaction and nearly chewed the end of her tail off. Since she was being isolated from our other dogs due to the heat cycle I wasn’t too concerned by her lethargy. She had a different look to her eyes, pupils larger and shiny, never has gone away. It was my friend who said “Rat tail” she is having a reaction to the double vaccines.
Our local vet had told me to treat her with benadryl and not sure if she was also given prednisone. Moki was my husbands pick of the litter. After these problems I researched anything and everything I could on vaccinosis. I also found out that Vizslas are one of the breeds that are susceptible to it, but because they are still a minor breed compared to others
it is not well known.Also because of the small gene pool that came to this country there has been in the past cross breeding to pointers which brings problems to the gene pool, and in breeding and tight line breeding to the respectable breeders who refuse to cross breed. All our Vizslas are line bred with out crossing at times. Also I think out of fear that their breeding stock will be considered tainted, the breeders we know don’t mention vaccine problems or the fact that they don’t follow normal vet guidelines. I was surprised to find out that when a friend got her first Vizsla 17 years ago, from breeders who are well known and who we know well, she was told to NEVER give Lepto to him. I am going to check the two books he wrote on the breed to see if he mentions vaccine problems We now do distemper/parvo per Dr. D., titer at one year. two and three. That is Butch our oldest young dog. He had a severe reaction to his first rabies (he is also very tightly line bred from an accidental breeding). We have tittered him since yearly for rabies.

J.R., Ohio


February 18, 2014

I have 2 Havanese dogs from the same breeder. My breeder told me that her kennel of dogs almost died after the lepto vaccine. Their hair feel out, they were deathly ill – horrible reaction.I was lucky because, when I asked my vet about the vaccine – he said not to bother with it as it was a “rip off” – there were so many strains of the disease that chances are if your dog did get it, it would not help anyway.For the last 10+ years, anyone who buys a puppy from my breeder– has to sign an agreement that they will not get the lepto vaccine – if they do, her guarantee is no longer valid. I can ask my breeder to email you but, not sure she will follow through – she has retired from breeding dogs and vacations in Florida all winter. Not sure if this second hand account helps you or not? You can let me know and then I will ask her to respond to you directly with any additional



February 18, 2014

Good morning,
I came across your article and wanted to share my story with you. I have two puppies that were vaccinated against lepto last summer and both had very serious reactions. Sydney, my smaller pup, had immediate signs. She was lethargic, shaking, had diarrhea and was refusing to eat and drink. My slightly larger pup, Mila, developed poly-arthritis a few weeks later.
We were able to pull together $15,000 to take care of the emergency bills, but the whole incident left me very wary of veterinarians and pharmaceutical companies. The vaccine was from ******** and their response was that they didn’t have enough proof to show it was the result of the vaccine. Even in the case of the smaller pup that was sick immediately, the ******** vet said it could be anything, even a mystery illness no one has ever heard of. I did file a complaint against the vet who vaccinated the puppies. We do not live in an area where lepto is prevalent and I believe the vet could have done more to inform me of side effects, or at a minimum, not provide so many vaccines at once. I have attached the letter of complaint which details what happened for both puppies. Thank you for fighting for transparency when it comes to vaccines. What I’ve learned in the last 9 months is both shocking and horrifying.

C.D., Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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