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Vaccine Reactions in Dogs: Everything You Should Know

Vaccine Reactions in Dogs: Everything You Should Know

Protecting your dog from serious illnesses through vaccinations outweighs any minimal risks involved. Our veterinarians at Los Angeles County offer guidance on managing any vaccine reactions that may occur.

Why Your Dogs Should Get Their Shots

Vaccinating your furry friend from an early age makes it possible for your furry friend to lead a long and healthy life. Regular vaccine boosters are also necessary to maintain their immunity against diseases. Some of the most crucial vaccinations for puppies are rabies, hepatitis, and parvovirus.

Although our veterinary believe in the importance of vaccines for all dogs, not all canines require the same ones. The vaccines your dog needs depend on several factors such as their age, location, and lifestyle. These factors determine the likelihood of your dog contracting preventable diseases. Consult with your vet to determine which immunizations are best suited for your pet.

Common Mild Reactions to Vaccines in Dogs

It's a known fact that any medical procedure carries the risk of adverse reactions. Although rare, vaccines can also cause mild reactions that usually don't last long. Being aware of the symptoms of a reaction can help you identify and manage it promptly, making the vaccination process less stressful for both you and your furry friend.

  • 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

Thankfully, if your dog experiences adverse reactions from vaccinations, there are proper treatments available that can often reverse the effects. With the appropriate care, your furry companion should recover swiftly.

  • 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 dog's vaccinations are current is essential to maintaining their overall well-being. It's worth noting that the possibility of a severe vaccine reaction in most dogs is minimal. However, if your pet has had an adverse reaction to a vaccine previously, it's crucial to inform your veterinarian so that they can record the event in your pet's medical records. In such cases, your vet may suggest avoiding a particular vaccination in the future.

Additionally, it's worth mentioning that receiving several shots simultaneously slightly increases the likelihood of vaccine reactions. are given during a single appointment. This can be especially true for smaller dogs. To minimize the risk of an adverse reaction in your pet, your vet may recommend spreading your dog's vaccinations out over several days rather than doing them all at once.

Should I have my dog revaccinated?

It's hard to predict the likelihood of your dog having a reaction again if revaccinated. Some dogs may not have any reaction during their second vaccination, while others may experience the same reaction as before. In rare instances, dogs may even have a serious life-threatening reaction to a vaccine they have received previously.

If your dog had a reaction to their first round of shots, it's important to talk to your veterinarian about the potential risks and benefits for your pet's health. Your vet may suggest not 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 Los Angeles County vets today to book an appointment to get your dog's shots.

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

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