Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Puppies and Kittens: Vaccine Side Effects

Don’t forget about Giveaway Day(week?)

There are vaccine allergic reactions and vaccine side effects. The allergic reaction is much more serious and can be fatal if not treated. Basically when a pet has an allergic reaction to a vaccine it is similar to an anaphylactic reaction. This allergic reaction has symptoms of hives, swelling of face or vaccination site, hyper salivating, vomiting, extreme lethargy, and even seizures. In most cases a vaccine reaction will happen within a few hours of the injection. If these symptoms are seen your pet should be taken immediately to its veterinarian or to an emergency clinic. Usually all they need is an injection of diphenhydramine and/or dexamethasone (benadryl or steroid). I do not recommend trying to give oral benadryl in this situation, it can take oral medications anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hour to have effect. With an allergic reaction you need much faster route of administration.
Normal side effects are slight lethargy, soreness, slight fever, in-appetence, and just not feeling well in general.  These can go on for up to 24 hours. If they last more than a day following up with the veterinarian wouldn’t be a bad idea.
I have seen and treated several vaccine allergic reactions and all have recovered very well. I have also given advice to owners with puppies or kittens who were feeling a bit under the weather after vaccines—all who did quite well afterwards. I have never experienced either of them as a pet owner….until my foster kitten had his first vaccine.
He did great at the clinic and seemed fine when we got home but a few hours later he got really grumpy. Every time I would pet him he would whine and kind of growl, he felt warm but not really feverish, he didn’t want to eat, and he just sat in my computer chair with his head down and front paws tucked under his chest—we call this bread loafing, because they look like a loaf of bread I guess. I knew he wasn’t having an allergic reaction but he was definitely having the normal side effects but it really affected his mood. Once I realized the problem I brought him a bowl of food, water, and a blanket for him to lay on in the chair. I knew he wasn’t having a reaction that needed me to call my vet/friend but we just monitored him through the night. My boyfriend told me that the little guy vomited but that was over 12 hours since his vaccine and he hadn’t eaten dinner so I wasn’t really surprised.
The next day he was still a little moody but at least accepted some love so I tucked him in his blanket and put on a playlist of II Volo (young italian opera-ish singers…soo soooo good, check them out!) went to run a few errands and by the time I got back and he woke from his nap he was back to his normal self. Had he gotten any worse I would have called the vet.
Kitten Update: My friend D came and visited Sunday evening and made friends with the little guy. Then since all went well at their meeting I gave D the little guys toys, blanket, food, bowl, and written instructions (hehe!) and they were on their way. *sniff* They got home safe, little boo explored his new digs and passed out on his new couch. He’s doing well, probably better than me! (*sniffle*) And his name is Wesley…OMG SOOOOO awesome! (I have such a super crush on wesley from the princess bride—just in that movie.)  And I think it fits him really well. Here’s the pic at his new place. 

That looks like a happy sleeping kitty :) Now if I can only get used to him not snuggling next to me at night/mornings. *sigh*


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