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Vaccine Reactions in Dogs: Everything You Should Know

Vaccine Reactions in Dogs: Everything You Should Know

Vaccinating your dog is important to protect them from severe illnesses. The risk of a severe vaccine reaction is low, and our veterinary team at Hohenwald is here to help if needed.

Why Your Dogs Should Get Their Shots

As a responsible pet owner, it's crucial to ensure that your furry friend receives proper vaccinations at an early age to ensure a healthy and long life. Regular vaccine boosters are also necessary to maintain your dog's protection against various diseases. Among the essential vaccinations for puppies are rabies, hepatitis, and parvovirus. 

However, not all dogs require the same vaccines. Factors such as your location, your dog's age, and its lifestyle determine the necessary immunizations to protect against diseases. It's advisable to consult your vet to determine which vaccinations are best suited for your pet. Our vets believe that vaccines play a crucial role in keeping your dog healthy.

Common Mild Reactions to Vaccines in Dogs

It is a fact that any medical procedure, such as vaccination, can have adverse effects. Although uncommon, vaccine reactions usually display mild symptoms that do not last long. Knowing these symptoms can assist you in identifying a reaction in your canine and making the vaccination experience less stressful for both you and your beloved pet.

  • Lethargy - Sluggishness, mild discomfort, and just not feeling like their normal self, are the most common reactions dogs have to get their 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 - While the majority of vaccines are administered by injection, the parainfluenza and Bordetella bronchiseptica virus vaccines are given in the form of nasal sprays or drops. Reactions to these vaccines tend to look like basic cold symptoms and may include sneezing, coughing, and a runny nose. Expect your pup to recover from these symptoms within a day or two. If these symptoms become more severe or it's taking your pup longer to recover, contact your vet for advice.

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 - This severe allergic reaction can involve symptoms including facial swelling, diarrhea, itchiness, hives, vomiting and breathing difficulties. This type of severe reaction will usually occur very soon after your dog receives their injection, (typically while you are still at the vet's office), but can happen up to 48 hours after the vaccine is given.
  • Shock - Symptoms of shock following vaccines can include a slow heart rate, decreased blood pressure and generalized weakness. You may also see a gray tongue and pale mucous membranes.

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

It's fortunate that with proper treatment, adverse reactions caused by vaccinations can often be reversed, allowing dogs to recover quickly.

  • If your dog's reaction is not life-threatening and confined to the skin, treatment is likely to include cortisone and/or anti-histamines. Symptoms will usually clear up quickly once treatments begin.
  • Serious reactions such as anaphylaxis and shock require immediate veterinary care! Medications and intravenous fluids will be provided to help your dog recover and restore your pet's vital signs. Epinephrine and/or cortisone may also be used in these cases.

Preventing Reactions to Vaccines

Ensuring that your furry friend's vaccinations are up to date is essential for their long-term health. It's worth noting that the likelihood of your dog suffering a serious reaction to a vaccine is minimal. However, if your pet has had an adverse reaction to a vaccine before, it's crucial to inform your veterinarian so that it can be recorded in their medical records.

In such cases, your vet may advise against a specific vaccination in the future. When administering multiple shots during a single appointment, the risk of reactions to vaccines slightly increases, particularly for smaller dogs. Your vet may suggest spreading out your dog's vaccinations over several days to minimize the risk of adverse reactions.

Should I have my dog revaccinated?

It can be challenging to predict if your dog will have a reaction again if revaccinated. Some dogs may not have any reaction, while others may experience the same reaction as before. In rare cases, dogs may have a severe life-threatening reaction to a vaccine they have had previously.

If your dog has had a reaction to their first round of shots, it's best to consult your veterinarian regarding the potential risks and benefits of vaccines for your dog's health. Your vet may advise against vaccinating your pup for certain diseases based on their previous reaction.

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 our Hohenwald vets today to book an appointment to get your dog's shots.

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Hohenwald Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Hohenwald companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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