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Vaccine Reactions in Dogs: Everything You Should Know

Vaccine Reactions in Dogs: Everything You Should Know

Vaccinating your dog has numerous benefits that usually outweigh the potential risks of vaccine reactions. However, it's worth noting that some dogs may experience adverse reactions after receiving their shots. Our Monterey Park veterinarians can provide you with more information on the most frequent vaccine reactions in dogs and offer guidance on how to respond if your dog experiences a reaction.

Why should I get my dog vaccinated?

Ensuring that your dog receives vaccinations in their early life and as an adult is crucial for their overall health and longevity. Diseases like rabies, hepatitis, and parvovirus are especially dangerous for puppies and can be fatal. By vaccinating your dog, you can prevent these diseases from occurring and avoid the need for treatment in the future.

Does my dog need all the available vaccines?

Based on your dog's breed, age, and lifestyle, your veterinarian will assess the potential risks and recommend appropriate vaccinations for your pet.

What are the most common reactions to vaccines in dogs?

Like all medical procedures, vaccines carry the risk of adverse reactions. Although it can be distressing for pet owners to witness their pets having a reaction to vaccines, it's essential to understand that most reactions are typically mild and temporary. Being aware of the symptoms of a vaccine reaction and knowing how to respond can help ease the stress for both you and your dog during vaccination.

Dog Lethargic after shots

The most frequent reaction that dogs experience after receiving their shots is a sense of fatigue and unease, typically with a slight increase in body temperature. This reaction is normal and indicates that your dog's immune system is functioning correctly in response to the vaccine. These mild symptoms should only last for a day or two. However, if your dog doesn't return to their normal state within a couple of days, contact your veterinarian.

Lumps & Bumps

After receiving a vaccine, it's normal for dogs to develop a small, firm bump at the injection site, which can be tender to the touch.

This occurs because the immune system is responding to the localized irritation. However, any time the skin is punctured, there is a risk of infection.

Therefore, monitoring the injection site for signs of swelling, redness, discharge, or pain is essential.

Neglecting to treat an infected area may lead to more severe complications. If you notice the injection site becoming increasingly inflamed or displaying any of the symptoms mentioned above, contact your veterinarian.

Sneezing & Cold Like Symptoms

Unlike most vaccines that are administered by injection, the Bordetella bronchiseptica and parainfluenza virus vaccines are given as drops or sprays into the dog's nose. The reaction to these vaccines may resemble a cold, with symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose. Typically, these symptoms disappear within a day or two. However, if your dog experiences more severe symptoms or doesn't recover within a couple of days, it's crucial to contact your veterinarian.

Serious Reactions to Vaccinations

Although most vaccine reactions are mild and short-lived, severe reactions can occur in rare cases, requiring prompt medical attention. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that may result in symptoms such as facial swelling, vomiting, hives, itchiness, diarrhea, and breathing difficulties. Anaphylaxis usually occurs shortly after the vaccine is administered but can occur up to 48 hours later. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately or seek assistance from an emergency veterinary clinic.

Can I prevent my dog from having a reaction? 

Vaccines help protect your dog's long-term health, and the risk of your dog having a serious reaction to a vaccine is very low. 

That said, if your dog has had a previous reaction to a vaccine, it is important to inform your veterinarian. Your vet may advise you to skip a particular vaccination in the future.

The risk of reactions to vaccinations increases somewhat when multiple vaccinations are given at one time. This can be particularly true in smaller dogs. To help reduce the risk of reactions, your vet may suggest getting your dog's shots over the course of several days rather than all at once.

To learn more about vaccinations and preventive healthcare for your dog, contact our Monterey Park vets today to book an appointment.

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

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