The chances of your pet having a severe reaction to a vaccine are usually very low, and in most cases, the risk is well worth it. Vaccines protect your dog from a variety of serious illnesses that can be difficult to treat and expensive. Our Los Angeles veterinarians offer tips on how to handle a vaccine reaction.

Why Your Dogs Should Get Their Shots

Vaccinations starting when your dog is just a puppy help to give your pup their very best chance at a long and healthy life. Your puppy may be yelping after vaccinations or your puppy may be crying when you try to pick them up, but they are necessary. Vaccine boosters are also necessary regularly to maintain your dog's protection against diseases. Some of the most important vaccinations for puppies to have include rabies, hepatitis, and parvovirus.

Vaccines are important for all dogs, but not all dogs require the same vaccines, according to our veterinarians. The shots your dog needs are determined by where you live, how old your dog is, and how active your dog is. These factors come together to determine your dog's risk of contracting diseases against which he can be vaccinated. Your veterinarian can assist you in determining which vaccinations are appropriate for your pet.

Side Effects From Dog Vaccinations

Any medical procedure has the potential to cause an adverse reaction. Vaccine reactions are uncommon, but when they do occur, they are usually mild and short-lived.

Knowing the symptoms of a reaction can help you to spot a reaction if your dog does have one, and may help to make vaccination time less stressful for you and your dog.

  • Lethargy - Your dog being lethargic after shots is normal. Sluggishness, mild discomfort, and just not feeling like their normal self, are the most common reactions dogs have to get their shots. Your dog may also be having trouble walking after shots. Sometimes this is also accompanied by a mild fever caused by your dog's immune system responding to the vaccination. These mild symptoms are perfectly normal and should only last a day or two. If your dog isn’t back to normal within 48 hours, contact your veterinarian to let them know.
  • Sneezing & Cold-Like Symptoms - The parainfluenza and Bordetella bronchiseptica virus vaccines are given as nasal sprays or drops, while the majority of vaccines are given as injections. Sneezing, coughing, and a runny nose are common reactions to these vaccines, as are sneezing, coughing, and a runny nose. Within a day or two, your dog should be free of these symptoms. If these symptoms worsen or your dog takes longer to recover, seek advice from your veterinarian.

Serious Reactions to Vaccinations

As mentioned above, most reactions dogs have to vaccines will be mild and short-lived, in some rare cases, pets can have more severe reactions that require immediate medical attention.

  • Anaphylaxis - Face swelling, diarrhea, itchiness, hives, vomiting, and breathing difficulties are all possible symptoms of this severe allergic reaction. This type of severe reaction happens most often right after your dog gets their vaccine (typically while you're still at the vet's office), but it can happen up to 48 hours later.
  • Shock - A slow heart rate, low blood pressure, and generalized weakness are all signs of vaccine-induced shock. A gray tongue and pale mucous membranes are also possible.

If your dog displays signs of anaphylaxis or shock, call your vet immediately or contact the emergency veterinary clinic closest to you!

Treatment For Vaccine Reactions in Dogs

Fortunately, adverse reactions resulting from vaccinations can often be reversed with proper treatment, and your dog should recover very quickly.

  • If your dog's reaction isn't life-threatening and is limited to the skin, cortisone and/or antihistamines are likely to be prescribed. Once you start treatment, your symptoms should go away quickly.
  • Anaphylaxis and shock are serious reactions that require immediate veterinary attention! To aid your dog's recovery and restore vital signs, medications and intravenous fluids will be administered. In these cases, epinephrine and/or cortisone may be used.

Preventing Reactions to Vaccines

Keeping your dog's shots up to date helps to protect your pet’s long-term health, and it's important to remember that the risk of having a serious reaction to a vaccine is very low for most dogs.

However, if your dog has had an adverse reaction to a vaccine in the past, you should tell your veterinarian so that this information can be recorded in your pet's medical records. If your pet has had a previous reaction to a vaccination, your veterinarian may advise you to skip it in the future.

When multiple vaccines are given at the same time, there is a slight increase in the risk of adverse reactions. This is especially true in the case of smaller dogs. Your veterinarian may advise spreading your dog's vaccinations out over several days rather than doing them all at once to reduce the risk of an adverse reaction.

Should I have my dog revaccinated?

It's difficult to predict whether your dog will react again if revaccinated. When dogs are vaccinated a second time, some will not react, others will have the same reaction as before, and in rare cases, dogs will have a serious life-threatening reaction to a vaccine they have previously received.

If your dog had a negative reaction to its first round of shots, talk to your veterinarian about the risks and benefits of vaccines and their impact on your dog's health. Based on your dog's previous reaction, your veterinarian may advise against vaccinating him against certain diseases.

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.

Is it time to get your dog vaccinated? Contact us today to book an appointment to get your dog's shots.