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Vaccine Reactions in Dogs: Everything You Should Know

While vaccinations play a crucial role in safeguarding your dog from severe illnesses, there exists a slight possibility that your furry companion may experience a reaction. In this article, our vets in Douglasville discuss the significance of vaccination and guide you in monitoring your pet's well-being and safety following the vaccination process.

Should I Vaccinate My Pet?

Regular vaccinations play a crucial role in safeguarding your pet against a spectrum of contagious and frequently severe diseases that pose potential threats to your beloved furry friend's overall health and well-being.

As with any veterinary intervention, there is a minimal risk. In rare instances, a dog may react adversely to a vaccination. Nevertheless, the advantages of shielding your pet from grave illnesses significantly outweigh the slight probability of a vaccine reaction.

Moreover, in numerous states, specific vaccinations, including the rabies vaccine, are mandated by law.

Dog Vaccination Side Effects

Most vaccine-related side effects in dogs are typically brief and generally mild, rendering them considerably less risky than the diseases the vaccinations guard against.

In addition to the side effects outlined below, it is customary for a puppy to emit a yelp or cry post-vaccination. Visiting the vet can be an intimidating new experience, and your dog may experience a slight pinprick sensation from the shot. Ensure you shower them with affection and treats before and after vaccination to foster a positive connection with visits to the veterinary office.

Frequent side effects of canine vaccinations include:

Lethargy & Slight Fever

  • It's typical for your puppy to exhibit lethargy following their vaccinations. In fact, lethargy, often accompanied by a slight fever, is the most prevalent side effect dogs experience post-vaccination. Lethargy manifests as your dog appearing tired and somewhat disoriented. This is a common reaction; the symptoms will diminish within a day or two. If your dog continues to display unusual behavior beyond this timeframe, it is advisable to consult with your veterinarian for further guidance.

Localized Swelling

  • Lumps and bumps frequently occur as side effects in dogs. Occasionally, a small and firm bump may emerge at the site where the needle penetrated the skin. While this is a typical reaction, pet owners should vigilantly observe the area to ensure the lump does not increase in size or exhibit indications of inflammation, oozing, or infection. The lump should not cause pain and is expected to diminish gradually within approximately a week. Should the lump display signs of infection or persist beyond the one-week mark, it is advisable to contact your veterinarian promptly.

Sneezing & Cold Like Symptoms

  • While most recommended canine vaccines are administered through injections, certain vaccines are delivered through drops or sprays directly into the dog's eyes or nose. Side effects from intranasal vaccines closely resemble those of a common cold, manifesting as symptoms such as a runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. Typically, your dog should recover from these symptoms within a day or two. If there's no improvement after a couple of days or if more severe symptoms emerge, it is advisable to contact your veterinarian promptly.

Serious Vaccine Reactions in Dogs

Most effects associated with pet vaccination are mild, but more severe reactions requiring emergency veterinary care can occur in a few rare cases.

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 to dog vaccinations include:

  • Facial swelling
  • Vomiting
  • Hives
  • Itchiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Having trouble walking¬†

Anaphylaxis is the most severe allergic reaction that pets can get from vaccinations. Anaphylaxis will typically occur in dogs very soon after the vaccination, but it's important to remember that anaphylaxis can appear up to 48 hours after the vaccination.

How Can I Prevent my Pet from Having a Reaction to Getting their Shots?

Vaccinations play a crucial role in safeguarding your dog's overall well-being. The likelihood of your pet experiencing a severe reaction to a vaccine is minimal.

Should your beloved companion have exhibited any adverse reactions to vaccines previously, it is imperative to inform your veterinarian. Based on such information, your vet may advise omitting a specific vaccination in subsequent instances.

For smaller canine breeds, the risk of vaccine reactions tends to escalate when multiple vaccinations are administered simultaneously. If your pint-sized or miniature pup falls into this category, your veterinarian may suggest a staggered approach to administering the shots over several days rather than all at once.

Is your dog due for their routine annual vaccinations? Contact our vets today to book an appointment.

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Douglasville Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Douglasville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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