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Side Effects of Pet Vaccines

Every medical procedure in veterinary care comes with some level of risk (including vaccinations). In most situations, the benefits of having your pet vaccinated outweigh the associated risks. Today our vets in Ypsilanti share with you the possible side effects of having your cat or dog vaccinated and the steps you should take if your pet displays one.

Should I vaccinate My Cat or Dog?

Vaccinations are key when it comes to protecting your pet from serious diseases that are contagious and can threaten your cat or dog's long-term health and well-being. Most of the time, the benefits of vaccinating your cat or dog immensely outweigh the risk of your furry companion developing any side effects ( which are usually very minor). However, there are some instances of pets experiencing side effects to vaccines.

How many pets have serious side effects to vaccines?

There is always some level of risk when it comes to medical veterinary procedures, cat and dog vaccinations are no exception. However, the risk of your pet experiencing a serious side effect to a vaccine is very small. However, it can be frightening for pet owners that have had their pet experience an effect.

Approximately 1-10 cats out of every 10,000 vaccinated develop serious side effects to a vaccine and 13 out of every 10,000 dogs will experience a reaction. Meaning that out of the 10,000 cats 9, 990 - 9,999 come out without any serious effects and 9987 dogs sail through the vaccine process.

What side effects can my pet develop from vaccines?

The majority of the side effects dogs and cats get from vaccines are short in duration and are generally mild making them far less dangerous than the illnesses the vaccinations protect them from. We have listed some of the most common side effects pets get after being vaccinated:

Lethargy & Slight Fever

  • Lethargy, a slight fever, and mild discomfort are the side effects most frequently seen in pets that get a vaccine. When this happens you may notice your pet not acting like their usual self. This is a normal reaction to vaccinations, and the symptoms are typically mild and only last one or two days. If your cat or dog isn't acting like their normal themselves in a couple of days, contact your vet.

Localized Swelling

  • Bumps and lumps are common side effects in both cats and dogs. Often a small, firm bump will form at the spot where the needle pierced your pet's skin. This is a normal response but pet owners should monitor the site to make sure that the lump doesn't continue to get bigger or display any signs of infection, oozing, or inflammation. The lump should not be painful and generally disappears in about a week. If the lump shows signs of infection or hasn't gone away after a week call your veterinarian for advice.

Sneezing & Cold Like Symptoms

  • Most vaccines recommended for pets are given by injection however, some are given to cats and dogs in the form of drops or sprays that are administered into their eyes or nose. Side effects to intranasal vaccines look similar to cold symptoms which include a runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. Your cat or dog's symptoms should go away in a day or two. If your pet doesn't get better within a couple of days or starts developing more severe symptoms, call your vet.

What serious side effects can my cat or dog get from vaccines?

Most side effects associated with puppy and kitten shots are mild and don't last long however, in a couple of rare cases more severe reactions that need immediate medical attention can develop.

Symptoms of a serious reaction will generally occur very rapidly after the vaccine is administered but can take up to 48 hours to emerge. Signs of more severe side effects to dog and cat vaccines include hives, facial swelling, itchiness, diarrhea, breathing difficulties, and vomiting.

Anaphylaxis is the most severe allergic reaction that pets can get from vaccinations. Anaphylaxis will typically occur in cats and dogs very quickly after the vaccine has been given, but it's important to note that anaphylaxis can develop up to 48 hours after the vaccine has been administered.

If your pet develops any symptoms of anaphylaxis after being vaccinated, contact your vet immediately or call your local emergency veterinary clinic.

How can I prevent these side effects?

Vaccines are an important part of maintaining your pet's overall health. The risk of your cat or dog developing a serious side effect to a vaccine is very low. 

If your animal has developed side effects from vaccines in the past, let your veterinarian know. Your vet might suggest skipping a specific vaccination in the future.

Smaller dogs have a higher risk of developing reactions to vaccines when they are given multiple at the same time. If your dog is a small or miniature breed, your vet might recommend spreading out your puppy's shots over the course of several days.

To find out more about the vaccines and preventive care we offer at Michigan Avenue Animal Hospital visit our website. You can also contact our Ypsilanti vets to book your cat or dog's vaccinations today! 

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