Hundreds of puppies ‘died or suffered fits after routine vaccine’
HUNDREDS of puppies have died or been left seriously ill after having a routine vaccination, their owners claim.
Vets give puppies the vaccine to protect them against an infection called leptospirosis – but there have been reports that some dogs have suffered severe allergic reactions.
Some 2,000 suspected fatal or adverse reactions were reported to the Government’s veterinary regulator in the past two years.
Experts have warned about the safety of the drug, Nobivac L4, which they say can cause extreme side effects for puppies under 12 weeks old.
But the regulator, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, said there is not enough evidence linking the reported deaths to the vaccine.
It is monitoring the jab but declined to say whether it will take it off the market. Owners said their pets experienced side effects such as blindness and epileptic fits.
Vets give the vaccine to puppies from seven weeks old to prevent leptospirosis, which is spread through vermin and wild animals such as badgers. It can be passed on to humans through cuts, although this is rare.
In dogs, the infection causes vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy and fever. In extreme cases it can lead to kidney failure and death. Many puppies receive the jab along with others for distemper, hepatitis and parainfluenza up to three times by the age of four months.
But it is not recommended that the injection should be given routinely to all dogs.
Breeder Carol Blackburn-Harvey said her rare Russian tsvetnaya bolonka, which had appeared in advertisements, died weeks after being vaccinated. She said side effects set in soon after the treatment, when her dog became disorientated and weak. Critics claim the full scale of the problem is being covered up after the total number of animals said to be affected was not released by the VMD.
In 2014, the European Medicines Agency said safety warnings should be added to the vaccine so the ‘risks of the product are fully understood’.
And the World Small Animal Veterinary Association is urging owners not to use the vaccine on puppies under 12 weeks old.
The vaccine’s manufacturer MSD Animal Health insists it is one of the most common dog vaccinations and rarely causes adverse side effects.
A spokesman said: ‘It is important to critically examine the facts relating to adverse events versus anecdotes not substantiated by science and medical evidence.
‘The adverse event may have been related to an underlying disease, using other drugs at the same time or other nondrug-related causes.’ ÷ Dog owners were yesterday warned about grass seeds embedding in their pets’ fur and flesh. The problem is set to be the most common insurance claim this summer, pet insurer Animal Friends said.
There were almost 500 cases of injuries caused by grass seeds last summer, costing owners on average £337. Seeds can easily become embedded in dogs’ skin, especially in their paws and ears. This can cause extreme pain and infection. Animal Friends advised owners to check their dogs after every walk.
‘Disorientated and weak’
Carol Blackburn-Harvey’s dog