Reactions To Pet Vaccinations

Vaccine Reactions: What’s Normal and What’s Not After Your Pet Is Vaccinated


Mild symptoms are not unusual after your pet receives a vaccination but more serious reactions can occur as well. Α

Recently, in one of the mailing lists which I participate in, there have been some questions about vaccines. More specifically, the questions have centered around what symptoms are considered normal after a vaccination is administered to your pet and what symptoms should prompt concern.

This is a question I hear often in my veterinary practice as well. So, I thought it would be a good time to talk about vaccines, vaccine reactions, and what you can expect after your pet receives a vaccination.

Normal Vaccine Reactions Which May Be Observed in Dogs and Cats

When a vaccine is administered to your pet, it stimulates his immune system. It may be easy to think of vaccination as a routine and innocuous procedure. However, by their very nature, vaccines create an inflammatory response in your pets body. As a result, they are actually far from innocuous and can cause reactions which may range from mild and unnoticeable to severe and life-threatening.

Some pets may experience no symptoms at all or symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed after vaccination. However, mild symptoms of inflammation are not unusual.

-It is not unusual for a pet to become sluggish and/or lethargic after vaccination. -Recently vaccinated pets may experience some soreness and stiffness. -A mild fever may be present for 24-48 hours after vaccination. -Some pets may experience a lack of appetite for a day or two after vaccines are administered. -These reactions are generally not considered to be cause for alarm.

More Serious Vaccination Reactions Seen in Pets

One of the more serious reactions that can occur in your pet after vaccination is an allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

-hives -facial swelling -nausea and/or vomiting -shock -sudden death

If you observe hives or facial swelling in your dog or cat after he has received a vaccination, you should contact your veterinarian immediately for instructions. Antihistimines are frequently administered to halt the reaction.

Vomiting may be a symptom of an allergic reaction or may be a symptom of a less serious issue, such as car sickness or anxiety. Pets that are vomiting after a vaccination should be observed carefully. If in doubt, contact your veterinarian for instructions.

Vaccination reactions may occur immediately after the vaccine or within 48 hours after the vaccine is administered, depending on the type of allergic reaction.

Other Vaccination Reactions

Other complications can also occur as a result of vaccinations.

-Vaccination sarcomas are a specific type of cancer that occurs at the site of vaccination. These growths are most often seen in cats and have been associated with the rabies and feline leukemia vaccinations in particular. Adjuvanted vaccines are thought to be more likely to result in vaccination sarcomas than those that are non-adjuvanted. -Kidney disease and immune-related disease have also been associated with vaccinations in pets.

What does this mean for your pet? It does not mean that you should forego vaccinations for your pet completely. In some cases, the risk of vaccination may be far less than the risk that your pet may develop the disease itself. However, it does mean that you and your veterinarian should consider the risks and benefits of each vaccination before administering the vaccine.

How often your pet needs to be vaccinated depends on the type of vaccination. Some vaccines need to be given yearly, others only need to be administered every three years. Most vaccinations require an initial vaccination series of two or more vaccines at predetermined intervals. Your veterinarian can help you establish an individualized vaccination schedule tailored to fit your pets needs.

Contributed by the Pet Health Care Gazette