After receiving shots my dog became dizzy and began falling. Is this a vaccine reaction and how can this be prevented from happening?

Original Question: After shots on Thursday my dog was not eating much, became really dizzy and falling. - Linda

After receiving shots my dog became dizzy and began falling. Is this a vaccine reaction and how can this be prevented from happening? Jun 7, 2018

Hi Linda,

Thanks for your question. I’m sorry to hear you’re going through this.

Typical symptoms both humans and animals can experience after a vaccination are lethargy, discomfort at the injection site, loss of appetite, and fever but usually, there are no symptoms at all. These are considered to be acceptable as the immune system reacts to the agents in the vaccine as it is activated to develop antibodies or immunity. There are allergic reactions that can occur but the symptoms are very different than the ones you describe. I would encourage you to have a look at our video “Everything You Need to Know About Vaccine Reactions”.

The first and most important recommendation is to see your veterinarian immediately just for a physical exam. The symptoms you describe are not that concerning to me. The lack of appetite is an acceptable response to vaccination. The dizziness and falling are acceptable if it is due to lethargy, but I can’t judge this. Falling over can indicate all sorts of serious issues beyond lethargy. There could be heart disease, a neurological problem or severe illness and weakness. This is why you cannot accept my advice since I have no information. Please see your veterinarian for a physical exam. You never know if this is due to some other concurrent condition that has nothing to do with the vaccination.

Don’t forget to discuss a preventative plan for the future. Look at the vaccines that were given and try to identify the one that may have caused the reaction. If there was a new vaccine given or if one was repeated for the first time, this might be the vaccine that created the reaction. You’ll want to discuss the risks and benefits of repeating that vaccine in the future. If that vaccine is protecting your dog from something very serious that they are at great risk of contracting, you can decide whether you go forward giving it in the future and you can build a plan to prevent this reaction before it ever happens. If a patient was sensitive to a vaccine that the owner still wanted to give, I would pre-treat the patient with an injection of antihistamine before administering the vaccine. This would often prevent the reaction completely. Speak to your veterinarian about this and become informed so that you can make the decision for yourself. There is a great video where I address antihistamine more in-depth that you can take a look, entitled “What You Should Know About Over-the-Counter Antihistamine Use in Dogs & Cats”.

I hope this helps and I wish you the best.

Dr. Greenway

Disclaimer: and its team of veterinarians and clinicians do not endorse any products, services, or recommended advice. All advice presented by our veterinarians, clinicians, tools, resources, etc is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian or other clinicians. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.

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