Hun­dreds of pup­pies ‘died or suf­fered fits af­ter rou­tine vac­cine’

Daily Mail - - Life - By Sara Smyth

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

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