Vaccine reactions are uncommon for pets to have. However, below is information on what to look for and how we can prevent reactions from occurring.
It is relatively uncommon for pets to have a serious reaction to a vaccine. Signs of acute vaccine reactions include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the face and neck
These reactions happen very quickly, often while you are still at the veterinarian, and need to be treated immediately. Itching, pain, diarrhea, fever, lethargy and swelling at the injection site can occur within a few hours.
It is safe to give diphenhydramine (Benadryl) at a rate of 1 milligram per pound of body weight (for example, a 15 pound dog would get 15 milligrams), and then call Veazie Veterinary Clinic immediately to see if more treatment is required.
Pets should always be monitored after vaccination for these signs, and your veterinarian should be contacted whenever they happen. Rare, long-term reactions include hair loss at the injection site and cancer development at the injection site. We are happy to discuss any possible risks with you as we help you decide what is best for your pet.
Vaccines stimulate the immune system. This is why there is some belief that immune-mediated diseases in dogs may be related to vaccination. While there are no scientific studies that have fully confirmed this, we continue to strive towards minimizing vaccines while still having adequate protection for the future health of all our patients.
Should I Be Worried About What Breed My Pet Is?
There are no breed-specific issues for any of the vaccines currently on the market. Some breeders occasionally suggest that a vaccine component affects their particular breed differently from other breeds.
When such reports are investigated the information appears to be purely anecdotal. This does not mean that individual animals will not occasionally have an adverse reaction. Pets should always be monitored after vaccination to make sure that they are doing fine.
Can My Pet Be Tested for Vaccine Titers?
A titer is a measurement of a pet’s blood antibody level to a specific disease. However, titers do not actually indicate an animal’s ability to protect itself from disease, as this is only one part of the immune response system.
There is a great deal of controversy regarding whether or not a certain level of antibody can be considered equal to protection. Each animal is different; a pet with a high titer may have less protection than a similar animal with a low titer. Some clients may choose to titer their animals to see where their immunity stands. However, we cannot titer for all viruses at this time, and a rabies titer is not considered sufficient proof by the State of Maine for protection against the disease.
We are happy to discuss this as an option with all owners and determine what the best option for their pet will be.