It's important to start vaccinating your dog when they are still a puppy to protect them from common illnesses and diseases. However, some owners are worried about their dogs developing reactions to their vaccines. In this post, our Hattiesburg and Wiggins vets explain why vaccinations are important for puppies and dogs and what to do if they do develop a reaction to their shots.
Why It's Important For Dogs To Be Vaccinated
Annual vaccinations are very important for dogs because they help protect them from contracting highly contagious, serious diseases that could threaten your pup's long-term health. In most cases, the benefits of having your dog vaccinated far outweigh the risk of your dog developing a reaction to the vaccines. That said, some dogs do have reactions to their shots.
Common Vaccine Reactions In Dogs
Seeing your dog experience a negative reaction to their vaccinations can be upsetting. However, it's crucial for conscientious pet owners to understand that most reactions are mild, transient, and typically much less dangerous than the illnesses the vaccines aim to prevent.
When you understand what the most common vaccine reactions in dogs are, and what to do if your dog does develop a reaction, vaccination time can be less stressful for you and your pooch.
Lethargy, minor discomfort, and a mild fever are the most typical vaccine reactions in dogs. Typically, your dog will act differently than usual; perhaps they will be a little more laid back than usual. The symptoms should be minor and only last one or two days; these are typical dog vaccine reactions. Contact your vet if your dog's response lasts longer than a few days.
Lumps & Bumps
After receiving a vaccination, it's typical for dogs to experience skin bumps and lumps. It is possible for a tiny, firm bump to develop close to the point where the needle was injected into the skin. This is likewise a typical response, but it's crucial to keep an eye on it to make sure the bump doesn't continue to grow or exhibit infection-related symptoms like increasing pain, inflammation, or oozing. After about a week, the lump should gradually disappear. Call your veterinarian if the lump doesn't go away after a week or if it displays signs of infection.
Any time that your dog's skin is punctured there is a chance of infection. Keep an eye on the site where your dog's injection was administered. Watch for signs of infection such as increased redness, swelling, pain, or discharge. Infections can result in more serious conditions if they go untreated. If you notice that the spot where your dog had their injection is becoming inflamed and sore, contact your vet.
Cold Like Symptoms & Sneezing
While most dog and puppy vaccines are given via injection, the Bordetella bronchiseptica and parainfluenza virus vaccines are given via nasal drops or sprays. Intranasal vaccine reactions resemble a cold and can include symptoms such as a runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. Your dog should recover from these symptoms in a day or two. If your dog's symptoms do not improve after a few days, or if they become more severe, contact your veterinarian.
Serious Reactions Dogs Can Have to Vaccines
Vaccine reactions are usually brief and mild. However, in a few rare cases, more severe reactions can occur, necessitating immediate medical attention. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction characterized by facial swelling, vomiting, hives, itchiness, diarrhea, and breathing difficulties. Anaphylaxis in dogs typically occurs shortly after vaccination, but it can occur up to 48 hours later.
If your dog shows symptoms of anaphylaxis after being given their shots, call your vet immediately or bring your pooch to the nearest emergency veterinary clinic.
How To Prevent Vaccine Reactions In Dogs
Vaccines are essential for protecting your dog against a handful of potentially fatal and contagious diseases. The risk of your dog having a serious reaction to a vaccine is very low.
If your dog has had a previous reaction to a vaccine, is having difficulty walking after their shots, your puppy is crying/yelping when you pick them up after their vaccinations, or exhibits any of the symptoms listed above, it is critical that you contact your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will explain your next steps and may advise you to skip a particular vaccination in the future.
Your dog's risk of vaccine reactions may increase slightly when being given multiple vaccines at once, particularly if they are a smaller dog. Your vet may recommend getting your dog's shots over the course of several days rather than all at once, in order to help reduce your dog's risk of reacting to their vaccines.