Linda Arndt ~ Canine Nutritional Consultant

Examples of Vaccine Reactions In Great Danes

Vaccine reactions in this breed are far too common and I am sad to say most of the cases I see in Great Danes, are misdiagnosed as HOD/Hypertrophic Osteodyrophy. The reason for this is due to the similarities in symptoms (swelling of the carpal joints (wrists), lethargy and a high fever, between HOD and a certain type of vaccine reaction. And without a thorough examination of the nutritional, vaccine and antibiotic history of the animal, along with a blood test to rule out septic arthritis (septicemia or blood poisoning, one can NOT distinguish the difference between HOD and a Vaccine Reaction in the early stages of this disease.

For a list of questions to differentiate between HOD and Vaccine Reaction see Guide To Recognizing Bone Diseases.

However, there is significant difference between the "look" of the joints in an HOD puppy, as opposed to the "look" of a vaccine reaction in a puppy, particularly as it progresses into a full blown auto-immune response.

When this occures he owners normally start to change the diet, thinking this is HOD it is nutritional caused. It is not until they realize the dog is not getting any better or crashing periodically, that they start to suspect something else is wrong. There is a swelling of the joints that starts to involve the long bone as well as the joint, which looks like a fluid build up around the joint. This formation is not fluid, but massive boney buildup and much more extreme that seen in normal HOD cases. By this time it is often to late to do anything nutritionally (detoxify the body) and eventually the animal becomes so deformed and grotesque and racked with excruciating pain, that they must be humanely euthanized.

To my knowledge, there is no way to reverse this disease process, especially in the later stages. To date, I not been able to find any animal health care professionals that has a cure for this particular type of vaccine reaction in this breed (and possibly others), that is why prevention is the key .

Maybe IF a vaccine reaction is diagnosed in the early stages, as a Vaccine Reaction and not HOD, and steps are taken to detoxify the dog with homeopathic remedies and antioxidants, there might be a chance to reverse the processes and save the animal.

On this page I would like to show you examples of Vaccine Reactions so you can compare them to the examples of HOD and other developmental problems located at this site.
( Growth Problems In Puppies Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. )

Diagnosing true HOD can be very difficult and confusing because several conditions can actually "mimic" the symptoms of HOD. For distinguishing the differences between these "conditions" see A Guide To Recognizing Bone Diseases. These things mimic HOD symptoms.

  • Diet - too caloric dense or an imbalance in the diet

  • Blood infections - Septicemia (mistakenly called Psudeo-HOD)

  • Allergic reaction to certain antibiotics (the Sulfonamides or Cephalexin) see my article Guide to Recognizing Bone Diseases.

  • Vaccine Reactions

For more information on vaccine reactions read my article at this website called Vaccine Reactions in Great Danes, as well as how to try and Prevent Vaccine Reactions.

The majority of these vaccine reactions sent to me, happen when dogs are not on appropriate nutritional support, and their system can't handle the onslaught of multivalent (combination) vaccines. Couple that with the fact that many vets are now giving rabies at 10,12 weeks of age (as in the examples below), along with their other shots, it is too much for these young systems to handle.

I do feel when we used to give our Parvo separate from our Distemper (10 yrs ago), we were better off. There is some thought that there is indeed a reaction that happens when these two vaccines are administered at the same time. I do not have ANY scientific data to support this theory, but it has been discussed on many breed discussion lists. If someone does, have info, please send me a reference source.

I tell my puppy buyers, it is very important that the rabies vaccine NOT be given at the same time as the other shots. Just plan to make an additional trip into the vets office rather than jeopardize your puppies immune system. I do not give my rabies until 6 months of age or older, but you have to discuss this with your vet. (See Puppy Guidelines and Blackwatch Vaccine Schedules).

The following images are very disturbing to view, and are at this site to educate breeders and owners about the fact that vaccine reactions are a reality in this breed. However, these are only a few examples of vaccine reactions, other types of responses such as facial swelling and seizures which often occur in other breeds are also noted among breeders and owners, but not at the same time as these types of responses in the examples below.

I am not implying that one should not vaccinate their dogs. I do vaccinate, but do so with a modified schedule that is approved by my vet, with vaccines he administers. I back up the immune system of the dog with powerful nutritional support, specific antioxidants such as Nzymes and Vitamin C, to detoxify the body.

All of the animals in the photograph were humanely euthanized This is only a small sampling of examples from my files, so do not think this is only a few isolated cases. It is prevalent enough in this breed that the GDCA parent club, along with specific individuals in this breed, have worked to provide funding for current vaccine research going on at Purdue University and a report has been published in JAVMA, fall of 2002.

Examples of Vaccine Reactions


The first shot of Gus was taken 11 weeks of age. This is the beginning stages of the HOD diagnosis. The following photos show how the reaction progressed over the next weeks and months. This went on too long, this dog was in agony before they made the decision to put him to sleep. This is an autoimmune response and the bone continues to grow out of control, this is not soft tissue swelling.


GUS 8 - Final Stages
GUS 9 - Final Stages

PRINCESS - the day she was put to sleep. You will note the merle spots on this fawn - the merle gene makes these dogs even more prone to vaccine reactions.

Princess - Front View
Princess - Side View

NIKI - a black out of harlequin breeding carries the merle gene.

Niki - Front
Niki - Rear

OTHER EXAMPLES - these dogs can not be saved and this is not nutritional HOD, yet in all cases they were diagnosed as having HOD. There is nothing that can be done to save these puppies. All we can do is PREVENT vaccine reaction by using supplements to help detoxify the dogs body, during the vaccine process and using better brands of vaccines - I am unable to discuss the brand of vaccine that has been an ongoing problelm but if you write me, I can recommend a good brand that has not been a problem so far.


Jewel 1
Jewel 2
Paws 1

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