Pet Vaccine Risks: Reactions, & Symptoms

Pet Vaccine Risks: Reactions, & Symptoms: First, what is a vaccine? Vaccines are given by injection and trigger the immune system, and prepare the immune system to fight infection of certain diseases.

Vaccines can lessen the impact of future diseases and certain vaccines can prevent the infection all together. There are certain vaccines available to use by veterinarians based on your pet’s lifestyle.

Pet Vaccine Risks: Is it important to have my pet vaccinated?

Yes! Pets should be vaccinated to protect them from many highly contagious and potentially deadly diseases.  Experts agree that millions of pets worldwide have been saved due to vaccines. Many of the diseases live in the environment. For example, parvovirus, is still the leading cause of death in puppies. This disease can live in the soil for months to years. You can prevent parvovirus with vaccination.

Pet Vaccine Risks: What is a vaccine reaction?

Vaccine reactions are unpredictable and unexpected allergic responses to a vaccine. Just like humans might have allergies such as “penicillin” or “peanut allergy”, these reactions are unique responses by your pets immune system. A vaccine reaction in no way suggests that the doctor administered the drug incorrectly, or suggest that the vaccine is defective.

Mild Vaccine Reactions

  • Upset stomach
  • Sleepiness
  • Swelling, soreness, or itching on inject site.
  • Rare cases hair might fall out usually associated with the Rabies vaccine on small or toy breeds.

Severe Vaccine Reactions

  • Facial swelling
  • Severe and rapid reaction, difficulty breathing, hives.
  • Severe vomiting / diarrhea

Is my pet at risk?

Just as in people, any vaccine administered to a pet has the potential to cause an adverse reaction. Pets rarely have reactions compared to the amount of annual vaccines given. Vaccines are safe and beneficial preventing many of infections and diseases. Some of the smaller breeds such as Dachshunds, Pugs, Boston Terriers, Min Pins, and Chihuahuas had higher reaction rates versus other breeds. Despite smaller breeds at higher risks, the pet vaccine risks in smaller dogs are still very low. Many veterinarians have risk management protocols to lessen the risks of vaccine reactions. The risk that your pet will be exposed to the disease is far greater than the risk of a vaccine reaction.

My pet has or is reacting – what should I do?

  • Your veterinarian may advise you to give 12.5 mg per 5 ml liquid Benadryl by mouth or 25 mg adult tablet (based off weight, you need to contact your veterinarian for exact dose)
  • Postpone or discontinue certain vaccines
  • Observe your pet after vaccination
  •  Change the route of the vaccine given
  • Place an IV catheter in case emergency care is needed.

When in doubt, you should contact your veterinarian for advice.