Vaccination cautions with recent disc episode, steroids


Neuro Corner Answers


Dr. Jared Galle
DVM Diplomate ACVIM (Neurology)
Dogwood Veterinary Referral Center

Primary interests include intervertebral disc disease, spinal trauma, wobbler syndrome, inflammatory brain disease, and developmental brain abnormalities (hydrocephalus and Chiari malformation).



When is it safe to give vaccinations to a dog with a recently herniated a disc?


While there are no set guidelines for when to vaccinate a dog after surgery, we recommend to wait for at least 4 weeks after surgery before vaccinating.   Some dogs become stressful and anxious when taken to the veterinarian, causing them to “squirm” which could injure the surgery area.  Waiting to vaccinate 4 weeks after surgery allows the surgery area to heal.

One should also take in to consideration whether or not your pet has been taking steroids (prednisone, dexamethasone).  Steroids decrease the immune system, which may reduce the response to the vaccine.  There is no consensus in pets or people as to how long a dog should be off steroids before being vaccinated.  Several factors have to be taken into account when considering this (dose of steroids, frequency of the steroids, type of vaccine, amount of protective immunity).  Generally, the dose of steroids used to treat disk disease is low enough to not interfere with vaccination.  However, we recommend that the steroids be stopped for 2-4 weeks before vaccination.

One should also consider checking a titer to see if vaccination is necessary.

Dr. Jared Galle, DVM
Diplomate ACVIM (Neurology)


This information is presented for educational purposes and as a resource for the dog IVDD community. The coordinators are not veterinarians or health care professionals. Nothing herein should be interpreted as medical advice all should contact their pet care professionals for advice. The coordinators are not responsible for the substance and content contained herein and do not advocate any particular product, item or position contained herein.

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