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What You Need To Know After Your Pet is Vaccinated

YOU HAVE DONE YOUR PET A FAVOR IN GETTING HIM OR HER VACCINATED!  The fact that you care enough to protect your pet from disease is a demonstration of your love for him or her.  Regular revaccination of all pets is strongly recommended for many reasons.  A separate information sheet discusses these reasons further.  We have prepared this information sheet to inform owners of rarely encountered side effects that may occur from vaccines.

Though very uncommon, any animal can potentially experience adverse reactions to vaccines.  Signs of a serious vaccine reaction can include facial swelling, sudden facial itching, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and hives.  Many animals show only one of these signs.  It is important to seek emergency care right away as the reaction may progress into a possibly life-threatening situation.  Vaccine reactions can almost always be quickly remedied if emergency veterinary care is sought immediately.  One or more injections of antihistamines, steroids, or adrenaline may be necessary to stop the reaction. 

Though usually a reaction will be apparent within 30 minutes, animals should be closely observed/monitored for at least 12 hours following vaccination.

Another practically harmless reaction sometimes occurs after vaccination.  A local reaction may occur at the site of injection.  These reactions are characterized by a slow forming firm mass, (usually with a rounded top and flat base) that is freely movable (not deeply attached) under the skin.  These reactions may take several months to resolve.  Though these reactions are usually of no concern, WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND HAVING ANY LUMP CHECKED OUT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE BY A VETERINARIAN regardless if you feel it meets the above description. 

Many animals experience lethargy for a day or even two following vaccines. Usually, the smaller the animal, the more profoundly this effect manifests.  In other words, kittens, cats, and small dogs are most frequently affected in this way.  If other problems besides just lethargy occur, let us know.

Finally, as discussed on the “What We Recommend” handouts for cats, there was a potential risk for the formation of a sarcoma where the older rabies and older FeLV vaccines were given.  This was speculated to have been caused by the aluminum adjuvant in the older vaccines, or possibly the velocity of the vaccine as it was injected.  Only one out of every five-thousand to ten-thousand cats vaccinated for rabies or FeLV will get these tumors, but all cat owners should be aware of the potential for the problem.  We use the newer “adjuvant free” rabies and FeLV vaccines to help prevent sarcoma formation. 

On behalf of your pet, thank you for getting him or her vaccinated.  Your investment in your pet’s continued health is evidence of your dedication as an owner, and may very well prevent your pet from contracting a serious illness.  See you next year!