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The purpose of this study was to describe 4 dogs that developed polyarthritis (PA) shortly after vaccination. Between 1996-1999, twenty-seven dogs were admitted to the Clinic for Small Animals, University of Berlin, Germany with clinical signs of PA. Based on the history, clinical findings, results of routine laboratory tests, radiography and ultrasonography, synovial fluid analysis, serum titres for rheumatoid factors, infectious disease and immunological serum titres, 9 dogs were diagnosed with idiopathic PA type I and 14 dogs with other forms of polyarthritis. Vaccine-associated PA (VAPA) was suspected in 4 dogs of different breeds (1.3-2.4-years-old) which showed a sudden onset of lameness with several painful and swollen joints 3-15 days (mean 11) after vaccination. Synovial fluid analysis revealed nucleated cell counts ranging from 4000-72000/µl (mean 30000) with 30-90% (mean 80) neutrophils. Treatment consisted of non-steroidal antiinflammatory agents (NSAIDs) and doxycycline. The VAPA dogs quickly recovered in 1 to 2 days, 3 had not experienced a recurrent arthritic episode and 1 dog developed arthritic signs 12 days after revaccination. An accurate vaccination history is important on all dogs presenting with PA. In accordance with anecdotal reports, the signs of disease in VAPA can spontaneously resolve.