Vaccinating your pet, like all vet procedures, carries minor risks. However, the benefits usually outweigh these risks. In this article, our Franklin vets explain potential vaccine side effects and steps to take if your pet shows any.
Should I Vaccinate My Pet?
Vaccinations are an important part of protecting your pet from serious and contagious diseases that could threaten your furry companion's long-term health and well-being. In most situations, the benefits of giving your dog or cat vaccinations greatly outweigh the risk of your pet experiencing any side effects. Although, once in a while, some pets do have side effects.
How many pets have serious side effects from vaccines?
Vaccinating your pet has some risks, but serious side effects are rare. It can be scary for pet owners, but it's generally safe for your furry friend.
An estimated 1-10 cats out of every 10,000 vaccinated will experience a serious side effect of a vaccine, and 13 out of 10,000 dogs will have a reaction. This means that out of the 10,000 cats 9, 990 - 9,999 sail through the vaccine process, and 9987 dogs come out without any serious issues.
What kinds of side effects can pets get from shots?
Most vaccine side effects in dogs and cats are short-lived and mild. They are much safer than the diseases they prevent. Here are some common side effects pets may have after vaccination:
Lethargy & Slight Fever
- The most common side effects of vaccines in pets are lethargy, a slight fever, and mild discomfort. This is characterized by your pet not acting like themselves. This is a common side effect of vaccinations, and the symptoms should be mild and last only one or two days. If your dog or cat isn't acting like themselves in a few days, consult your veterinarian.
- In both cats and dogs, lumps and bumps are common side effects. A small, firm bump may form at the site where the needle pierced the skin. This is a normal reaction, but pet owners should keep an eye on the area to ensure that the lump does not grow larger or show signs of inflammation, oozing, or infection. The lump should not be painful and should go away in about a week. If the lump shows signs of infection or does not disappear after a week, contact your veterinarian.
Sneezing & Cold-Like Symptoms
- While most vaccines for dogs and cats are administered via injection, some are administered via drops or sprays into the animal's eyes or nose. Intranasal vaccine side effects resemble a cold and include symptoms such as a runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. These symptoms should pass in a day or two for your cat or dog. Contact your veterinarian if your pet does not improve within a few days or begins to exhibit more severe symptoms.
What serious side effects could my pet get from vaccines?
Puppy and kitten shots usually cause mild, short-term side effects. But in rare instances, serious reactions that need quick medical care can happen.
Symptoms of a serious reaction will generally occur very quickly after the vaccine is given but could take up to 48 hours to appear. Signs of more severe side effects of dog and cat vaccinations include facial swelling, vomiting, hives, itchiness, diarrhea, and breathing difficulties.
Anaphylaxis is the most dangerous allergic reaction from vaccinations. It can happen soon after the shot or up to 48 hours later.
If your pet shows symptoms of anaphylaxis after their vaccinations, contact your vet immediately or call your closest emergency veterinary clinic.
How can I prevent my pet from having a reaction to getting their shots?
Vaccines are important to protecting your cat or dog's overall health. The risk of your pet having a serious reaction to a vaccine is very low.
If your furry companion has had a reaction to vaccines in the past, be sure to let your vet know. Your veterinarian might recommend skipping a specific vaccination in the future.
For small dogs, getting many vaccines at once can increase risks. Your vet might suggest spacing out the shots over a few days.