Pet immunizations help prevent numerous diseases that affect pets. Vaccinating your pet has long been thought of one of the easiest ways to help him enjoy a long, healthy existence. Not only are there different vaccines for different diseases, there actually are different types and combinations of vaccines. Vaccination is a procedure that has risks and benefits that must be weighed for every pet relative to his lifestyle and health.
It is common for pets to experience some or all of the following mild side effects after receiving a vaccine, usually starting within hours of the pet immunizations. If these side effects last for more than a day or two, or cause your pet significant discomfort, it is important for you to contact your veterinarian:
- Discomfort and local swelling at the vaccination site
- Mild fever
- Decreased appetite and activity
- Sneezing, mild coughing, “snotty nose” or other respiratory signs may occur 2-5 days after your pet receives an intranasal vaccine
More serious, but less common side effects, such as allergic reactions, may occur within minutes to hours after vaccination. These reactions can be life-threatening and are medical emergencies.
Seek veterinary care immediately if any of these signs develop after your pet immunizations :
- Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
- Itchy skin that may seem bumpy (“hives”)
- Swelling of the muzzle and around the face, neck, or eyes
- Severe coughing or difficulty breathing
A small, firm swelling under the skin may develop at the site of a recent vaccination. It should start to disappear within a couple weeks. If it persists more than three weeks, or seems to be getting larger, you should contact your veterinarian.
Looking for more information about sarcomas? View our Vaccines and Sarcomas: Cause for Concern page.
Always inform your veterinarian if your pet has had prior reactions to any vaccine or medication. If in doubt, wait for 30-60 minutes following vaccination before taking your pet home.
Read more about pets vaccination at avma.org