While vaccinating animals is probably the most regular appointment booked in veterinary clinics, there is always a risk for dangerous vaccine reactions to occur that neither you or your veterinarian can anticipate. Here is an explained list of some major indicators that your animal needs medical attention:
- Sleepy, depressed animals that are uninterested in eating or drinking for several days
While it is normal for animals to be lethargic and have no interest in eating or drinking for the first 24 hours after receiving vaccines, their energy and appetite levels should gradually increase over a period of days until they are back to normal. Keep a close eye on your animal’s food and water intake, as this is of utmost importance for your animal’s ability to mount an appropriate immune response to the vaccine. If your puppy or kitten is not eating, drinking, and has low energy levels in the days following being vaccinated, bring them to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
- If a large painful lump starts to form at the site of injection 5 days or more after receiving a vaccine
Most animals will appear grumpy and not like to be touched, especially at the site of vaccine injection for about 3-5 days after being vaccinated (limping may also be seen). This is normal and should be of no major concern to you. However, if a lump develops that continues to grow in size, a veterinarian must be contacted immediately as your animal may have developed an abscess in response to the needle.
- If a large, non-painful lump develops over time
Sometimes it can take as long as a month for a large lump to develop at the site of injection. This could potentially be an abscess that has grown over time because the needle may have introduced bacteria under the skin. Also of concerns is If a lump develops at the site of injection that starts to grow in size after a long period of time, because the lump could be cancerous. In both cases, your animal should have their lumps presented to a veterinarian.
- Discharge coming out of the nose and the eyes
Some vaccines given to dogs and cats are administered through the nose. These vaccines can sometimes induce mild symptoms of the disease they are being vaccinated against. As such, a watery discharge coming out of the nose or eyes for a few days following vaccination is normal. However, if your animal has a green or yellow discharge, a bacterial infection may be present and your animal will need to be seen by a veterinarian.
- Anapylaxis — shock, collapsing, pale gums, rapid heart beat, vomitting, diarrhea
The above symptoms are signs that your animal is going into severe anaphylactic shock from receiving the vaccine. Luckily, the symptoms can come on quickly (anywhere from a few minutes to up to 24 hours after vaccination), and your veterinarian can work to reverse the effects of the vaccination. If this does occur with your animal, different vaccine protocols will have to be followed to safely vaccinate your pet in the future.
- Mild anaphylaxis – itchy red and swollen face, neck and ears
Antihistamines can be administered to your pet to reverse the mild anaphylactic reaction to the vaccine. While less severe than a full-blown anaphylactic reaction, veterinary attention is still required.