Treating Side Effects of Rabies Vaccine in Dogs

Jan 21, 2016

Earth Clinic readers suggest several treatments for dogs experience side effects from the Rabies Vaccine. The homeopathic medicine Thuja has been reported to help with side effects. Bentonite clay and diatomaceous earth are also suggested to help remove toxins from the body. Benadryl has been reported to help some dogs with vaccine reactions that are allergy-like. Activated charcoal powder, diatomaceous earth and bentonite clay are suggested to help remove toxins from the vaccine. Colloidal silver and goldenseal have been used to deal with reactions that present like infections.

External Treatment for Rabies Vaccination Reactions

External treatment may be helpful as well.  Activated charcoal powder and bentonite clay made into a poultice and used at the site of infection, may help with swelling, redness and pain at the injection site. If there is infection present at the site of the injection, colloidal silver, goldenseal, or turmeric may be helpful topically.

Advice for Treating Rabies Vaccination Reactions

Carol, from PA used lemon and colloidal silver to deal with vaccination side effects. She writes:

"I now have 2 Old English Sheepdogs who are naturally reared. They are 9 and 10 years old currently and have had no chemicals in or on them, fed a raw diet and have only been to a vet once. They had their puppy shots and that was it until my one dog was diagnosed with a hernia. He had to have an operation and they wouldn't do it until he had a rabies shot. This would be his second vaccination in his lifetime. I was reluctant but knew he needed a repair of his hernia. 2 months after that shot, he developed cysts all around his neck area. Sheepdogs are extremely sensitive to shots of any kind and he did puff up at the injection site. I was told by an herbalist to take a slice of lemon and rub it on the site and the puffiness went away. I then began using Colloidal Silver in drops twice a day on the cysts and in a matter of a week, they burst and were gone and have never returned.

Often the first 'go to' remedy for vaccination side effects is homeopathic Thuja Occidentalis. It is in the form of tiny sugar based pills; dose them directly into your dog's mouth and hold it shut for a few moments for them to dissolve- do NOT touch the pills as this can de-activate them."

Theresa from MN, one of Earth Clinic's most prolific posters in the pet section, gives the following advice to one reader dealing with side effects from the Rabies Vaccination:

"If your boy is in good weight and not skin and bones, I would not sweat the lack of appetite too much. Offer him broth or home made doggy pedialyte for electrolytes and salts to keep him hydrated. If he does not want to drink then use a syringe and get something down him so he does not get dehydrated; do the fluids about half an hour AFTER the Thuja to avoid de-activating the thuja. Dose the Thuja every 2-4 hours to start, and monitor results. It it is the right remedy you will see some improvement in the first 6 hours or so. Again, do not push him to eat, but do offer him broth to keep the sugar, salts and electrolytes up.

Once he comes around it might be a good idea to offer him activated charcoal in some canned food, or bentonite clay - these will help draw the toxins from his body as they pass through. Additional support for his organs might be milk thistle."

Timh from KY, another knowledgeable and helpful Earth Clinic poster, suggests to a pet owner dealing with Rabies Vaccine side effects,  "Give bentonite clay mixed in water. If she won't drink, give by dropper or syringe to help clear any contaminants like mercury from the vaccine. Sometimes the vaccine can become outdated or overheated and could produce an infection, in which case a few drops of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide in her water bowl."

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Please continue reading below to see what other readers have found helpful in dealing with side effects from the Rabies Vaccine. If you have found something that is helpful for these side effects, please be sure to let us know!

Bentonite Clay, H2O2  

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Posted by Tom (Albuquerque, Nm) on 11/08/2011
0 out of 5 stars

I accidentally stumbled upon this site and I have a horrible story to tell. I had been looking for a forum like this to tell my story back in July and August. In mid-July (2011) I took my 11 1/2 year old, very healthy lab/shepherd cross to get his annual rabies. The next morning, he went into a grand-mal seizure that lasted about 5 minutes. In the space of the next two hours, he had two more. We rushed him to our regular vet, where he seized in the waiting room. The vet gave him valium rectally and sent us to the emergency vet. They took him in immediately and the came back and reported that he seized yet again. They put him on IV valium, kept him one night and sent him home the next day. He was acting pretty drugged from the valium for the next two days, when I think the valium wore off and he started to seized yet again. The vet gave us some story about a brain tumor or some other cause and that it couldn't be the rabies vaccine. She put him on phenobarbitol, but he was never the same. I don't know if it was the PB or the vaccine, but he was lifeless, had ataxia (his legs would cross, he was uncoordinated and couldn't jump on our bed any longer). Two weeks into the PB, he died in the night. It looked like he had seized again.

After much research, I found that we Americans tremendously over-vaccinate our pets. There is evidence that the rabies vaccine lasts for seven years! But, of course you have drug companies fighting this evidence and municipalites that aren't going to bother with changing any laws. Since our dogs never go to boarding, dog parks, or anywhere else where proof of vaccination is needed, we have decided not to give our dogs annual vaccines anymore. The chance of getting rabies is so small for a dog that does not run in the wild, it is just not worth the risk. My boy is gone and I am devastated. We rescued another lab cross puppy. We are going through his puppy vaccines and he has had his first rabies shot. Perhaps at 6 years we will give him another, and that's it. Don't succumb to big brother and bad science.

Replied by Timh
Louisville, Usa

Tom, purchase some bentonite clay and keep it on hand for such emergencies as your pet experienced. Mix with water to saturation point and add to water-bowl, food, or administer orally or rectally to clear out those likely heavy metals. Sometimes, if the vaccine is outdated or hasn't been properly refrigerated, it can grow toxic pathogens and poisen the animal. For pathogen treatment add a few drops of 3% H2O2 to water-bowl. Either or both the clay or hydrogen peroxide could save animal life.

Cow Colostrum  

Posted by Juliana (Boulder, CO) on 05/31/2009

When my dog becamse seriously ill, I found a product that used refined cow colostrum to substitute for a lack of immunity. Actual colostrum is a milk product and dogs stop absorbing milk after weaning. The refined product seems to overcome this problem. I have used this for dogs seeming to be under the weather. I used it for my own resistant respiratory infection.

I have heard that it is helpful if givern before and after doggie vaccinations. I had planned to use it for the next mandatory rabies vaccination. My dog died before I had a chance to use this.

Also rabies vaccinations are now usually given in a leg as opposed to the neck. This is because that vaccine can cause a specific cancer and a neck cannot be amputated. This infuriates me.

Also micro-chipped dogs and people can develop a specific cancer that grows around the glass enclosed chip. A certain company is working behind the scenes to make micro-chipping mandatory for certain populations.

I didn't chip my dog or vaccinate him during later adulthood. He died last Sunday; he was 15 years old. That is rare these days.

Since topical pest control products are nerve agents, I washed my dog often and used essential oils as flea and tick protection. Losing them at any age is just awful.



Posted by Ann (Worcester, Ma) on 05/25/2008

You don't have to give rabies vaccinations. If your pet gets any reaction to vaccines or any health problems all you need to do is to see holistic vet to give you a form that this animal can not be revaccinated.

Replied by Maggie
Fountain Hills, Az

Thanks so much, this information is EXACTLY what I was looking for. I live in Fountain HIlls, AZ & just found out that our county(Maricopa)mandates yearly Rabies vaccines in order to have your dog licensed. My sweet male PitBull Terrier already had his rabies shot when he was 6 months old, he is almost 11 months now & is currently licensed. I was looking for a way to renew his license without getting another rabies shot. He didn't have a bad reaction the first time, however I'm not taking any chances. I refused the Lyme & corona vaccine & insisted on coming back 4 weeks later for his first and ONLY rabies shot, I didn't care what they wanted or the dirty stares I got. When the "reminders" for his next round of shots come in the mail it will go in the trash where it belongs! I am fortunate nothing ever happened to any dogs I have ever owned but thanks to everyone out there helping & sharing, together we can stand firm & seek out Holistic Vets. I pray that I can find a "loophole" & get him licensed next year without another rabies vaccine, as I will search to no end. Many THX!

Raw Diet  

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Posted by Lightkeeper8 (Houston, Texas) on 03/05/2012
0 out of 5 stars

After my Yorkshire Terrier 18 mo. old puppy had his second rabies shot, he vomited after eating (any) food, and couldn't keep anything down. He was also having bloody diarrhea. His system was so severely inflamed that when the vet did a barium test with x-rays. Looking at the film, it appeared he had a large mass in his stomach (toy stuffing, they thought). The vet performed emergency surgery and found only inflammation in his stomach and intestines.

My clinical nutritionist advised I put him on a canine raw diet, and now he sees a holistic vet. The colitis ceased, but he is still very sensitive and can have an episode if we are not careful.

He has had no more rabies shots, nor yearly boosters. At 8 y/o now, he is quite healthy, but his diet remains strictly raw (Stella and Chewy's brand). If he eats anything other than his raw, or freeze dried diet, his stool becomes loose and mucusy. Our Vet has multi-degrees in veterinary studies and has attended many clinics on vaccines. I believe our pets are being over-vaccinated in this country. It's unfortunate that it is the law across-the-board that our pets be forced to have rabies shots even if they are strictly an indoor pet and never get boarded.

Raw Diet, Homeopathy  

Posted by Bethlos (Hinckley, Il) on 01/05/2012

My Alaskan Husky (now 12) had a severe reaction to a rabies shot two years ago. He was almost completely paralyzed in the hind end. This is an animal that was like an olympic athlete, pulling my husband on rollerblades in the summer and skiis in the winter. The vets were of no help and actually caused more harm in trying to treat his reaction to their shot. Anyway, I used homeopathic vaccinosis remedies (rus toxin?) and a product called transfer factor (bovine colosturm). I also used fulvic acid (?) to remove heavy metals from his system. I had started him on a raw diet several months prior to the shot and am told by alternative medicine types that this helped in his healing.

I'm happy to report that he's active again. Not the athlete he once was, but he's older now too. The vaccine injury did age him a bit, but I'm delighted to have him (almost) back to his "old" self.

Ted's Remedies  

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Posted by Melissa on 05/21/2008
0 out of 5 stars

hi my name is melissa. i have a five month old alaskan malimute/ husky puppy. he had his two first series of shots on time then for his third ones about six hours later he stated to foam at the mouth twice within 20 minutes apart then bout four in half hours later he had a real bad seizure so i took him to the er vet he spent the nite he had anther at 615 that morn my vet stated him on phenobarbital at bout 11 this morn he hasent had one since but im scared. could there been an allergic reaction to the (rabies)shots he has been a very heathly active and smart little boy puppy. what could be wrong? thank u.

Replied by Ted
Bangkok, Thailand
384 posts

Most rabies shots today has a very active virus, and other toxins that isolating it and finding what they add is difficult. The best way to detoxify is baking soda 1 teaspoon per 1/2 drinking water of water plus food grade hydrogen peroxide 30 drops. Most of the toxins and mercury are likely to be found more in human medicine than veterinary medicine, however I found adding some cilantro (10 leaves but twice a week) may help remove some heavy metals too. Perhaps taking a dog a bath using 1% food grade hydrogen peroxide may help as they are generally efffective in detoxifying most of the poisons by transdermal absorption in dogs. Most vaccinations used live rabies virus, while these live rabies virus may not be acitve, its toxins are never removed and if the vaccines is kept long enough, these virus metabolises more toxins, which might be one reason why they are also toxic. If an ozone generator is available, this also detoxify a lot of the toxins too, but taking a bath in hydrogen peroxide 1% if usually the most effective way. If there is any residual toxins, I can always to the bentonite clay bath (clay mixed with water) and wait until dry for the clay to take out the toxins via skin of the dog. At least that worked in my friend after suffering extreme side effects from antibiotics which nearly destroyed the kidneys and also causing a very large swelling of face too. However the clay bath required a least three baths for it to work effectively. My experience with baking soda in children with epileptic seizures seems to stopped completely without any recurrence at all from the seizures, which is why I usually add baking soda remedy to stop such seizures.


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Posted by Dzazira (Mississauga, On) on 04/04/2015
4 out of 5 stars

I have a 3 year Aussiedoodle that was due for his yearly rabies vaccination. He weighs around 45 lb (20 kg) and exhibited no visible behavioral problems or symptoms that could be attributed to an allergic reaction prior to his rabies shot. Having to comply with the provincial mandatory vaccination schedule, I took him to see his vet a week ago and he received a rabies shot. Unfortunately, I am not able to specify what type of rabies shot it was beyond the description that was imprinted on the receipt. Manufacturer/ type it describes is "Imrab 1 Merial". Having said that, my dog was taken for a rabies shot a year before and ended up licking his paw and leg to the point where there was no hair left there. We didn't connect this behavior to the rabies shot, since these symptoms were shown a week after the shot and we thought it might be an allergy to food or external factors. This time, as soon as we arrived home, my dog became lethargic and started pulling the hair out of his leg and licking the spot where the hair was pulled out. He crawled under the table and would not come out. We have a laser toy that he is obsessed with and as a last resort, we used it to lure him from under the table and he still wouldn't come out. His stool became slimy and was more dark and odious than usual. That was just the beginning. He started panting uncontrollably during the night and would not sleep, still licking his leg constantly. I called the vet and rather than even considering the possibility that this behavior could be attributed as a side effect to rabies vaccination, she said it must be the food we are giving him. My dog's diet has not changed in years and he never was allergic to it before, so I kind of knew this was a load of "youknowwhat". After not being able to sleep throughout the night because the dog kept making noises and panting like he was gonna get a heart attack, I just went online and kept researching rabies vaccination for canine. Surprised that a lot of dogs and cats cannot tolerate the vaccine and yet owners must vaccinate them as per law, doesn't make sense to me.

As a side note regarding allergies to food, I just want to say I used to have a Golden retriever and having lived in another country where dogs did not receive shots at all, my dog was fine all his life and also we didn't have kibbles to feed him. He was eating what we would eat (including spices, salt, garlic, onions....). Now that I know more about dog nutrition, I would never feed those things to my dog but it makes me wonder do we really know what is best for dogs and who decides. Profit or health?

Thuja seemed to be one thing that I could administer to him that few people reported it worked or moderately worked for their pets. Do I give him drops or pellets? Luckily, that was solved fast where all I could find in the health foos store were pellets. So, I bought Thuja occidentalis 30 CH pellets. Dosage recommended on the package is for humans and so I was unsure about the dosage for dogs. Everybody reports different administration and dosage, so I kind of took a chance with my own guesstimate. Two days ago I tried giving him pellets straight up. He sniffed it and walked away. Then I dissolved 5 pellets in one tablespoon of water and used a syringe to feed it to him. Didn't like the way I administered the pills, but once I did he kept licking his face as in "more". So, that was two days ago and so far, I've given him this dosage once a day. Results so far are great. He is back to his old ways, personality wise. Not lethargic anymore, runs around and we were finally able to sleep through the night. The panting subsided significantly and while he still licks his leg, it is not continuously like before. I will continue to administer Thuja for him and keep you updated. I apologize about the long post in advance and hope you guys read this before you vaccinate your pets, since Thuja can be administered to pets before the rabies vaccine in order for pets to tolerate it better. Will keep you posted about the progress in few weeks.

Posted by Catherine (Greenville, Sc/usa) on 09/27/2012
5 out of 5 stars

The homeopathic remedy Thuja Occidentalis can be helpful if you notice urinary problems after vaccines. Give a total of 3 doses -- day 1, day 2 and then day 5. So if you gave the 1st dose on Monday, the second dose would be given on Tuesday and the last dose would be given on Friday. I usually just give a dry dose and put it in the side of their mouth.

Replied by S
Los Angeles, CA

How much is "One Dose?"
Is it in "pellets?"
Or "tabs?"

Please reply. Thank you.

Replied by Theresa
Mpls., Mn

Hey S!

Since you are replying to a post that is a few years old, I will try to help.

The homeopathic Thuja Occidentalis comes in pelleted form - the dose is typically 3-5 pellets. The remedy from Boiron runs around 7-8 bucks for a vial of 80 pellets.

Posted by Dog Mom (Ny, USA) on 05/18/2012
5 out of 5 stars

Hi. I have just started giving my dogs (7 yr old, 60 lbs; 11 yr old, 80 lbs) a supplement that contains 250mg "milk thistle seed extract" and 250mg of "milk thistle seed" twice a day in their food. The 60 lb dog can be agressive towards her sister and her brother cats. She has also always had stomach issues at least once a month (used to be once a week) when she will have rumblings and will not want to eat all day but seems fine otherwise and still wants to play. The next day she is fine. The last time, I found explosive dark colored diarrhea in the basement (sorry. ) I also give them about 1 tbs of ACV (once a day), and a fish oil capsule with both feedings.

My questions are: They are due next month for their state mandated rabies vaccine. Since I am giving them the milk thistle, do I still need to give them thuja before and after their shots? Also, is this dosage of milk thistle enough? Is it OK to keep them on the daily milk thislte, or is this meant as a short term detox? Thanks in advance.

Posted by Madkatz32 (In, Usa) on 05/01/2012

We just got a 4 month old german shepherd puppy and a little gray kitten from the animal shelter. Well when you get them from the shelter they make you get their shots in order to adopt. So before I did all the research, we had them get their vaccines.

The kitten was super lovey then after the shots she kept hiding and was stand offish and seemed nervous, and she slept like all day after that. This was 4 days ago, well she's doing better but I would like to know the dosing for that Thuja for a 4lb kitten or any recomendations just to make sure that she is really better.

And then there is the puppy He is so full of energy anyway but he seems a little wired even for him and he is itching like crazy and smelly even after I bathe him and I just found alot of little pimples all over his stomach. He had his shots like 3 weeks ago. Can I give him the Thuja also? I also will not be doing the vaccines again. Please let me know, any advice welcome.

Replied by 5 Pooches Home

Yes you MUST start on Thuja asap. I had to get my dogs vaccinated (since we are going to travel internationally) so on the way back from the vet, I stopped and picked up Thuja 30C. I immediately opened it and gave each one 5 pellets in their mouths. Give it every 4 hrs. In the morning they had it again after their breakfast. I will continue for at least 1 week just to be safe. I am also against vaccinations so I only vaccinate them when absolutely necessary. If I wasn't travelling with them, then NO vaccinations at all. Hopefully one day we will live in the world when we only have to vaccinate our pets once in their lifetime!

Also I would recommend you also give 10-20 drops of Aloe vera juice to your pets. It is a great detoxifying agent. I am going to start mine today.

Along with this, to bring your pets to meximum health and energy, you should only feel them 100% homemade food and treats. I use bananas, blueberry, etc as treats. Only 100% NON-processed, preservative free food.

Good luck! My dogs are all from shelters too and now they are thriving.. hope this helps.

Posted by Jacquei (Santa Ynez, Ca) on 11/12/2011

My almost 4 month old Aussie has a bad reaction to a vaccination. Parvo/distemper. He is having head tremors.

I contacted a homeopathic vet, and she said to give him Thuja. How much do I give him? I bought 30 and 200. I read to give him one dose a day for a week, then one dose a day of sulpher fr a week. I also got him tincture of Milk thistle. How much do I give him? He weighs about 28 pounds Thanks

Posted by Sally (Saline, MI) on 06/06/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Homeopathic for Rabies side effects:

1 dose of homeopathic Thuja cured my dog of his rabies vaccination side effects.

My goldendoodle goes to daycar 1 or 2 days per week. He is mild mannered and gentle. Within 1 week of his first rabies vaccine, the daycare owner said that Farley was picking fights and and really going for blood. He did that a couple of days and was about to be "kicked out of school."

I consulted with Farley's former trainer. Then I realized he'd had that rabies shot about 2 weeks before. Based on past learning and experience, I gave him one dose of Thuja 30C (available in any healthfood store) and waited a few days.

When Farley went back to daycare, he was back to being a perfect gentleman and has remained so for 3 years. Yes. It's time for another government-mandated vaccine that I'd rather avoid. But I'll give him the Thuja and he'll be fine.

Posted by Sherry (Marquette, MI ) on 07/26/2008
5 out of 5 stars

The Nature of Animal Healing by Martin Goldstein DVM is an excellent source regarding the dangers of vaccines. I too had a cat experience an allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) with the Feline Leukemia vaccine. She lived since prompt medical care was possible. However, last week, I tried to save a 3 month old kitten (feral) with a temperature of 106, diarrhea and vomiting. Homeopathics were attempted as well as antibiotics and Sub-Q fluids. We lost her. Two vets believed it was from feline distemper. Goldstein in his work does recommend one feline distemper injection for kittens for lifetime immunity. However, vaccines are over done, and there is evidence that the leukemia one does not have a good success rate (check the internet). It is a difficult decision whether to vaccinate or not, but less I feel is better. Rabbies should not be given as a combo is what I have read in different sources. The rabbies vaccine should also be given at a different time then the other vaccinations.

Thuja homeopathic is supposed to help the ill effects of vaccines. It is non toxic. It can be taken with antibiotics and other medications. It won't interfer with western medicine. To administer, dilute a pellet or tablet of 30c in water and apply a dropperful to the mucous membranes of the mouth, drop by drop. For the medication to be effective, it needs to be administered in this format. The pill or tablet can not be given by having the animal swallow it whole. Doing so, would yield no results. It needs to be diluted in water only and administered two times a day for two-three days. There is no taste to the mixture, so animals accept it well. I have had experience with cats in a shelter using homeopathics and have seen respiratory infections resolve quickly. I have used it on my own cats for asthma and infections with excellent results. But finding the correct homeopathic to turn around a major disease such as feline distemper can be very difficult, if not almost impossible. I say "almost" hesitantly because I still do believe there was a homeopathic that could have turned the kitten around, but I didn't have it in my cabinet. This is where vaccines can assist in prevention. Therefore, a feline distemper vaccine administered to a kitten may be warranted for, according to Goldstein, it seems to offer lifetime immunity. Once again, I do believe that vaccines are administered in too high combo's which can be dangerous. Moderation is always the best course of action. Hope this helps.

The above information is offered for education purposes only and a vet should be consulted when a course of action is desired.

Replied by Jr
Coloma, Mi

I just want to mention that I have worked with two homeopaths. One said to mix the pellets with water and the other said that she preferred just putting the pellets in the dogs mouth. So I have done both and they both worked very well.

Titer Tests  

Posted by Waterviola (Golden, Colorado, Usa) on 04/20/2011

If your pet has had even one rabies shot - he will have evidence of that in his blood due to the antibodies - no need to have more vacinations for the same shot-year after year -that is over use and misuse of vaccines and that is very debilitating for your pet - get a titer instead - a blood test that recognizes the antibodies which will render another vaccine of the same unecessary (and proof of this titer test is acceptable verification for city license for your pet)

The same is true for all other vacinnations - Live in Health!


Posted by Jr (Coloma, Mi) on 07/25/2011

Because of the "Law" I am being forced to give my dog a rabies shot. I have been working with a homeopathic woman to help my Lab get better. Most of her problems are from over medication and vaccination. The homeopathic woman said that if I get my dog a rabies shot she will not work with me anymore and the dog will backslide. I just feel trapped between a rock and a hard place. Does anyone know of anything homeopathic or otherwise that I can give my dog to counteract the rabies shot?

Replied by Debbie
Gainesville, Fl

Yes, there is an alternative. I'm surprised your homeopathic practitioner didn't mention it. There are homeopathic preparations called nosodes that are made from the pathogens they target. There is a rabies nosode. However, our governments don't recognize it as an effective alternative to the vaccine, although it is very much so. Therefore, they won't let vets issue rabies certificates based on administration of the nosode. If you cannot get the nosode and if you need the rabies certificate, then you will have to get the regular vaccination. Be sure that your dog is strong and healthy. The rules for vaccination clearly state that only healthy animals need be vaccinated. Check on that. When he's ready, prepare him by starting him on Zeolite enhanced with DHQ (available online. ) Continue the zeolite until the bottle is empty. Your homeopath should not be so difficult about this. Yes, there will be a set back but you can minimize it with zeolite and homeopathics (Thuja, usually. )

Also, educate yourself about veterinary homeopathy by getting Dr. Pitcairns complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats, especially the section on vaccinations. Dr. Pitcairn pioneered veterinary homeopathy in the U. S. I hope you get this info in time.