Vaccine reactions: What your vet may forget to tell you

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Lately there’s been a lot of discussion about cat and dog vaccines — when people should vaccinate, whether they should, and what kinds of vaccines are necessary to keep pets safe.

(Check out the comments on vet blogger Doolittler’s recent post on the rabies vaccine.)

Vaccines protect pets from upper respiratory infections, distemper and parvo, in addition to rabies, which is transferable to humans. So why all the debate?

The issue is that some pets have adverse reactions to vaccines. In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s brochure on vaccinations warns of just that possibility:

The most common adverse responses [to vaccines] are mild and short-term, including fever, sluggishness, and reduced appetite. …

Rarely, more serious adverse reactions can occur. Allergic reactions appear within minutes or hours of a vaccination and may include repeated vomiting or diarrhea, whole body itching, swelling of the face or legs, difficulty breathing or collapse. … In very rare instances, death could occur from an allergic reaction.


But these brochures often go unnoticed in vets’ offices, if they’re
available at all, and vets may not warn us of possible side effects. Then, when we hear about the rare extreme reaction, we’re surprised and
horrified.

So what to do? While most pets are perfectly fine after
vaccination,
simply keeping an eye on your pet for several hours after he gets his shots could end up saving his life should an allergic reaction occur — and it will certainly set your mind at ease in any case.

You might also like:

Pet Vaccinations

Vaccination Side Effects and Adverse Reactions

Vaccination Guidelines

Some Vaccination Hazards

Vaccinating Dogs

Vaccine-Related Sarcomas

Sept. 28 is world rabies day — who knew?


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