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Cat & Dog Vaccine Side Effects and What You Should Know

Vaccines protect cats and dogs from common and serious conditions and diseases, but many pet owners are worried about the possible side effects. In this blog, our Stockton vets go over the most common side effects of cat and dog vaccines as well as the actions you should take if your pet does experience them.

Should I vaccinate My Pet?

Vaccinations are very important for both cats and dogs because it protects them from many common diseases that are both serious and highly contagious and can threaten your pet's longterm health and wellbeing. In most situations, the benefits of getting your dog or cat vaccinated highly outweigh the risk of them developing any side effects. Although, occasionally some pets do experience side effects.

How many pets develop serious side effects to vaccines?

There is always some level of risk associated with veterinary procedures and vaccinations are no exception. But, the risk of your pet actually having a serious side effect to a vaccine is very minimal. However, it can be scary for the owners of a pet that does develop a side effect.

Approximately 1-10 cats out of every 10,000 that are vaccinated will experience a serious side effect to a vaccine and an estimated 13 out of 10,000 dogs will develop a reaction. This means that out of the 10,000 cats 9, 990 - 9,999 experience no problems during the vaccine process, and 9987 dogs come out without any major issues.

What side effects can cats and dogs get from shots?

Most side effects pets get from vaccines are short in duration and are usually mild making them much less dangerous than the illnesses the vaccinations are protecting them from. Below, our Stockton vets have listed a few of the most common side effects dog and cats experience after getting a booster shot or vaccine:

Lethargy & Slight Fever

  • Lethargy, a slight fever, and some mild discomfort are the most common side effects pets get from vaccines. This can be characterized by your pet not acting like their usual self. This is a normal reaction to vaccinations, and the symptoms should be mild and only last one or two days. If your dog or cat isn't acting like themselves in a couple of days, call your vet for advice.

Localized Swelling

  • Lumps and bumps are common side effects in both cats and dogs. Sometimes a small, firm bump will develop at the spot where the needle pierced the skin. This is a normal response however pet owners should monitor the area to make sure that the lump doesn't get bigger or display signs of inflammation, oozing, or infection. The lump shouldn't be painful and should gradually disappear in about a week. If the lump shows signs of infection or hasn't gone away after a week has passed contact your veterinarian.

Sneezing & Cold Like Symptoms

  • While the majority of the vaccines that are recommended for cats and dogs are given through an injection some are administered by drops or sprays into the animal's eyes or nose. Side effects to intranasal vaccines look similar to a cold and the symptoms can include a runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. Your cat or dog should be fully recovered in one or two days. If your kitty or pup doesn't get better after 48 hours has passed or their symptoms are becoming more severe call your vet.

What serious are some serious side effects of pet vaccines?

Most effects from puppy and kitten shots are short in duration and mild, but, in a couple of rare situations more severe reactions that require immediate medical attention can arise.

Symptoms of a serious reaction will typically occur very quickly after the vaccine is administered but can take up to 48 hours. Signs of more severe side effects to pet vaccinations include itchiness, hives, facial swelling, diahrreah,  vomiting, and difficulty breathing.

Anaphylaxis is the most severe allergic reaction that cats and dogs can have from vaccinations. Anaphylaxis will typically occur in pets very shortly after being given a vaccination, but it's important to know that anaphylaxis can appear up to 48 hours after the vaccine.

If your cat or dog shows any symptoms of anaphylaxis after getting a vaccination, call your vet immediately or go to the nearest emergency veterinary clinic.

How can I keep my pet from having a reaction to their shots?

Vaccines are an important part of keeping your furry companion healthy. The risks of your cat or dog having a serious reaction to a vaccine is extremely low.

If your pet has had a reaction to vaccines in the past, you need to let your vet know. Your veterinarian can recommend skipping specific vaccinations in the future.

Smaller dogs have a higher risk of developing side effects to a vaccine especially when multiple vaccinations are given at once. If your pup is a small or miniature breed dog, your vet might suggest giving your puppy their shots over the course of a few days instead of all at once. 

Contact our Stockton veterinary clinic today to schedule your pet's vaccinations. You can also find more information about kittens and puppy vaccinations on our website.

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New Patients Welcome

Bear Creek Veterinary Hospital is welcoming new patients! Our compassionate vets are experienced in caring for Stockton companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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