Typically, the benefits of having your dog vaccinated will outweigh any potential risks involved. Our San Jose vets are here to tell you about possible reactions and what you can do to help your dog.
Why You Should Get Your Dog Vaccinated
By making sure your dog is vaccinated early in life, and regularly as an adult, you provide them with the best chance at a long, healthy life. Diseases such as rabies, hepatitis, and parvovirus can be very serious and even fatal, particularly in puppies. Vaccines prevent these diseases from developing in the first place, which is always preferable to treating them once they exist in your pet.
Does my dog need all the available vaccines?
Your vet will consider the risk factors facing your dog based on your dog's breed, age and lifestyle, then advise you on which immunizations are suitable for your dog.
What are the most common reactions to vaccines in dogs?
Adverse reactions are always possible with any type of medical procedure, and vaccines are no exception. For loving pet owners, seeing their pet have a reaction to vaccines can be upsetting but it's important to keep in mind that most reactions are mild and short-lived. Knowing what the signs of a reaction are and what you should do if your dog has a reaction can help to make vaccination time less stressful for both you and your dog.
One of the most common reactions they your dog might experience after their vaccinations is a general feeling of lethargy and discomfort coupled with a mild fever. Many of us would describe this feeling as being 'off'. This reaction is your dog's immune system working well and responding to the vaccine appropriately. These mild symptoms are normal and should only last a day or two. If your dog isn't back to normal within a couple of days, contact your vet.
Developing A Lump or Bump
Lumps and bumps can also be a common reaction to vaccinations in dogs. Following the vaccination, a small, firm bump may develop at the injection site, leaving the area somewhat tender. These bumps develop due to your dog's immune system rushing to resolve the localized irritation at the site.
That said, any time that the skin is punctured there is a chance of infection. Be sure to keep an eye on the site where the injection was given. Look for signs of swelling, redness, discharge and pain. If left untreated, infected areas may lead to more serious conditions. If you notice the area becoming increasingly red or showing any of the symptoms listed above, contact your vet.
Sneezing & Cold Like Symptoms
While most vaccines are given by injection, the Bordetella bronchiseptica and parainfluenza virus vaccines are administered by drops or sprays into the dog's nose. This means that a common reaction to these is very similar to that of the common cold, including coughing, sneezing and a runny nose. Most dogs recover from these symptoms within a day or two. If your dog is showing more severe symptoms or does not recover within a couple of days, it's time to call the vet.
Serious Reactions to Vaccinations
Most reactions associated with vaccines are short-lived and mild. Nonetheless, in a few rare cases, more severe reactions can occur and require immediate medical attention. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction characterized by facial swelling, vomiting, hives, itchiness, diarrhea, and breathing difficulties. Anaphylaxis typically occurs very soon after the dog receives the injection but may occur up to 48 hours after the vaccine has been administered. If your dog shows any of the symptoms listed above, call your vet immediately or contact your emergency veterinary clinic.
Can I prevent my dog from having a reaction?
Vaccines help to protect the long term health of your dog, and the risk of your dog having a serious reaction to a vaccine is very low.
If your dog has a history of vaccine reactions, make sure you let your vet know, especially if you are going to a new vet who may not have your dog's records. Your vet may advise you to skip a particular vaccination in the future.
The risk of reactions to vaccinations increases somewhat when multiple vaccinations are given at one time. This can be particularly true in smaller dogs. To help reduce the risk of reactions, your vet may suggest getting your dog's shots over the course of several days rather than all at once.