You were at the vet this morning, or yesterday, your pet did great for her annual exam, and received one (or a few) vaccinations. You came home, and things seemed pretty normal. Now, your pet is hiding, quiet, and doesn’t want to eat. What’s going on?
This may be a completely normal reaction to a vaccination. Vaccines work by activating the immune system in order to build antibodies which allow the body to fight off infection if it is encountered in the real world. This short period of immune system activation can make your pet feel sleepy, a little achy, and may decrease appetite for one to two days. My own cat had vaccine boosters last week, and for the next 36 hours he was not quite himself. He was much quieter than normal, tender where he had the vaccines, and only ate half his normal portions. By 48 hours after the vaccine, he was back to knocking our valuables onto the floor and teasing the dogs.
Think about when you receive vaccines — after a tetanus booster, our arms are sore for a few days, and after an influenza vaccine we tend to feel under the weather for a day.
There ARE some pets (and people) who have ABNORMAL reactions to vaccines. These can range from grossly exaggerated versions of the above to true anaphylactic allergic reactions, and need to be treated. Below are a list of normal and abnormal signs your pet may exhibit. If you see abnormal signs, call us immediately. If you think your pet is having an anaphylactic reaction, seek immediate medical attention, either with us or at the local emergency veterinarian.
- Mild lethargy (quiet, low energy, not interacting like normal) — NORMAL
- Decreased appetite, ranging to complete loss of appetite for up to 24 hours after the vaccine was administered — NORMAL
- Tenderness at the site of injection — NORMAL
- Mild limp on the leg(s) where injections were given — NORMAL for 1-2 days; if the lameness persists beyond this, call our office for advice
- Small bump at the site of injection — NORMAL
- Large, very painful swelling at the site of injection — ABNORMAL, call our office!
- Vomiting multiple times within a few hours of the vaccine — ABNORMAL, seek immediate medical attention, this may be an anaphylactic reaction!
- Facial swelling within a few hours of the vaccine — ABNORMAL, seek immediate medical attention, this may be an anaphylactic reaction!
- Soft stool for 1-2 days after vaccines and/or deworming administered — NORMAL
- Diarrhea (liquid stool) within a few hours of the vaccine — ABNORMAL, seek immediate medical attention, this may be an anaphylactic reaction!
Pets having immediate, severe reactions to vaccines need to be treated by a veterinarian. These reactions are very rare, but can be life-threatening. For pets who have experienced these reactions, we will discuss options for providing disease protection in the future and plan how to keep your pet safe.
Let us know how your pet reacted to vaccines when we check in — we may adjust how we vaccinate your pet in the future, even if the reaction fell into the normal range. Our goal is always to provide maximum disease protection, while keeping your pet happy and healthy.
If you have questions or concerns about your pet’s vaccination status, previous reactions, or need to bring your pet in, please contact us at (212)222-1221 or via our website at www.uptownvetsnyc.com.
Uptown Vets – 295 West 112th St, New York, NY
(212) 222-1221 – firstname.lastname@example.org