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Itching & Other Allergic Reactions After Pet Vaccines

There are huge benefits to vaccinating your cat or dog, but there is also a risk of allergic reactions to vaccines. Are pet vaccines worth the risk? What side effects should you watch for? Why is your kitten or puppy itching after vaccination? Find out below. 

Why is my (kitten) puppy itching after vaccination?

Itching after vaccination can be a common side effect in pets of any age. This can occur due to the immune response triggered by the vaccine, which may cause temporary skin irritation or mild allergic reactions. If the itching persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it is important to consult your veterinarian for further evaluation and guidance. 

It is also important to note that itching after vaccination is usually temporary and should resolve on its own within a few days. However, if your pet continues to scratch excessively or shows signs of discomfort, your veterinarian may recommend over-the-counter antihistamines or other treatments to alleviate the itching.

How often are cats and dogs itchy after vaccines?

It is not uncommon for dogs and cats to experience itchy skin after receiving a vaccine, although the frequency can vary. Some pets may have mild itching that resolves quickly, while others may experience more persistent or severe itching. Monitor your animal companion closely and consult a veterinarian if the itching persists or becomes more severe.

What other allergic reactions can pets have from a vaccine?

It's important to keep in mind that vaccines are typically much safer than the diseases they prevent. Most vaccine side effects in dogs and cats are short-lived and mild. Below are a few of the most common side effects to watch for after your pet's vaccinations:

Lethargy & Slight Fever

  • Lethargy, a slight fever, and mild discomfort are the most common vaccine side effects in pets. This is characterized by your pet seeming lazier than normal. This is a common side effect of vaccinations and should only last a day or two. Consult your veterinarian if your pet isn't acting like themselves in a few days.

Loss of Appetite

  • Vaccinations can temporarily affect a pet's appetite. If your furry friend seems less interested in eating immediately after receiving shots, it is often nothing to be overly concerned about. Ensure they have access to fresh water and monitor their eating habits. If the reduced appetite persists for more than a day or so, consult your veterinarian.

Localized Swelling

  • Side effects such as lumps and bumps are common. A small, firm bump may form where the needle punctured the skin. This is a normal reaction, but pet owners should keep an eye on the area to make sure there is no swelling, oozing, or infection. The lump should disappear in about a week. Contact your veterinarian if the lump shows signs of infection or does not disappear after a week.

Mild Discomfort

  • In some cases, dogs and cats may experience mild discomfort or soreness at the injection site. This is especially true if the vaccine was given in the leg or hip region. Your pet might exhibit signs of sensitivity when touched or may avoid putting weight on the affected leg. This discomfort usually subsides within a few days. Contact your veterinarian if signs of discomfort persist.

Sneezing & Cold-Like Symptoms

  • While most vaccines for pets are given via injection, some are given through drops or sprays into the animal's eyes or nose. Intranasal vaccine side effects include symptoms similar to a cold, such as a runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. Your pet's symptoms should subside in a day or two. If your pet does not improve within a few days or begins to exhibit more severe symptoms, contact your veterinarian.

What should I do if my pet has a reaction to a vaccine?

If your pet has a reaction to a vaccine, it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately. They will be able to assess the severity of the reaction and provide appropriate treatment or guidance. It is also helpful to provide them with any information about the specific vaccine that was administered, as this can assist in determining the cause of the reaction and prevent future occurrences. 

Should I still get my pet vaccinated?

Yes, absolutely. Vaccinations are an important part of protecting your beloved companion from serious and contagious diseases that could threaten their 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.

Does my pet need all available vaccinations?

Just like us, each pet is different, and yours will have varying risk factors based on their breed, age and lifestyle. These will factor into your veterinarian’s assessment of which vaccinations your dog or cat requires. Your veterinarian will then be able to recommend which immunizations would best protect your pet.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do have concerns about vaccine reactions and your pet? Contact our Huntsville veterinary hospital today to book an appointment for your pet. Our vets would be happy to discuss vaccine risks and benefits with you.

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