Side effects of a rabies vaccination for dogs

Updated April 17, 2017

Rabies is a serious disease that can have devastating effects on a community. While rabies vaccinations are important to keep outbreaks to a minimum, unfortunately, they can have many serious side effects for dogs. Consult your veterinarian immediately if your dogs show signs of any of these side effects after receiving a rabies vaccination.


Immediately or within three days following the administration of the rabies vaccination, side effects such as vomiting, swelling of the face, fever, lethargy, loss of consciousness and circulatory shock may affect your dog. Death from a rabies vaccination is rare but has occurred.


Behavioural side effects include aggression, separation anxiety and obsessive behaviours such as constant chewing and licking.


While rare, fibrosarcoma or cancer can occur at the site of the rabies injection if the same area is used repeatedly over the years.


The rabies vaccination is suspected in causing or contributing to autoimmune diseases that affect the organs, bone marrow, skin, kidney, bowel, joints and the central nervous system.

Chronic Problems

Chronic problems such as allergies, digestive issues, muscle weakness and skin diseases have been associated with rabies vaccinations in dogs. In fact, Dr. Richard A. Pitcairn, DVM, believes many chronic diseases in dogs may be directly related to the rabies vaccine.


According to Jan Rasmusen, activist for dog health and author of Scared Poopless, rabies vaccinations may also be responsible for seizures in dogs.

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