In an effort to keep our clients aware of current issues in veterinary medicine, this form will provide an explanation of vaccinations and possible reactions. This is a general information sheet that is not inclusive. Despite the fact that reactions are not frequent, we feel it is important to educate our clients regarding the possible side effects of vaccination(s).
Vaccines are important to protect your pet against various diseases such as Canine Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Parvo, Bordetella, Lyme Disease, Influenza, Feline Rhinotracheitis, Calici virus, Panleukopenia, Chlamydia, Leukemia, Distemper and Rabies. These diseases are still present in the population and can cause life threatening disease. Some of these diseases can also be transmitted to people.
What animal can have a vaccine reaction? Although it is more likely for a young animal to have a reaction during their “series” of vaccinations, ANY animal at ANY age can have a reaction.
Any time a vaccine is given it stimulates the immune system to form antibodies against disease. In some animals, the immune system can “over respond” and have atypical reactions/presentation. These are listed below.
Lethargy, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, soreness, anorexia, hair discoloration or loss at injection site, skin discoloration / scarring at injection site, fibrous reactive tissue (lump) at injection site, facial swelling/edema, pruritis (itching), auto-immune disease, cancerous tumors at injections sites noted in cats, anaphylactic shock, or death.
It depends on the severity. Most pets are treated with an antihistamine and/or steroid, to negate the “over responsive” immune system. These may be given as injection(s) and/or as medications to go home. If severe, other treatments or medications may be administered.
After the reaction, you should discuss further vaccination with the veterinarian in regard to a revised vaccination schedule, pre-medication prior to next vaccine, vaccine titer, or a letter of waiver to allow pet to not be vaccinated.