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What are Allergic Reaction to Vaccines?

A vaccine is the modified form of an organism, containing the antigens for a disease, but are not infectious. When the agent is injected, the immune system responds by creating specialized antibodies for that specific infectious organism. The purpose of the vaccine is to stimulate the immune response to make specific cells to keep circulating the body. Therefore, when the feline is exposed to the virus or bacteria, the immune system is prepared to fight it. Sometimes the immune system overreacts, causing an allergic reaction to vaccines in the feline. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can be mild, moderate or severe, and vary depending on the type of vaccination received. 

It is normal for a cat to experience a few mild side effects after receiving her vaccines, such as local swelling or pain at the injection site, but if hives appear, your cat could have an allergic reaction to a vaccine. Your cat’s immune system plays a vital role in protecting the body from infectious ailments to keep her healthy. Making antibodies against parasites, microbes, bacteria and viruses is one of the most important functions of the immune system. Unfortunately, this complex system cannot make specialized cells to fight every disease that invades the body, so vaccines are given to help the immune system prepare. 

Allergic Reaction to Vaccines Average Cost

From 339 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,800

Average Cost

$650

Symptoms of Allergic Reaction to Vaccines in Cats

An allergic reaction to vaccines in cats can be mild, moderate or severe and can appear within a few hours to several days after the vaccination was given. Severe reactions are usually associated with killed varieties of vaccines such as feline leukemia virus and rabies. 

Mild Vaccine Reaction

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Swelling, redness or pain at the injection site
  • Temporary lameness 
  • Temporary joint soreness 
  • Sneezing lasting roughly 4-7 days
  • Low activity levels 

Moderate Vaccine Reaction 

  • Urticaria (hives) 
  • Pruritus (itchy skin)
  • Swelling of the neck, eyes and/or lips
  • Redness 
  • Fever

Severe Vaccine Reaction: 

  • Very sudden allergic reaction (less than 24 hours) 
  • Breathing difficulties 
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting 
  • Decreased blood pressure 
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Cold extremities 
  • Cardiac arrest 
  • Shock 
  • Seizures
  • Collapse 
  • Death 
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Causes of Allergic Reaction to Vaccines in Cats

An allergic reaction to vaccines in cats is caused by an over-reactive response to the immune system. The antigen within the vaccine is used to stimulate the cat’s immune system to create specialized antibodies against the virus, bacteria or disease. However, the nature of some feline immune systems are hypersensitive and overreact to the introduced antigen. Common feline vaccinations that have been known to cause an allergic reaction in cats include vaccines against: 

  • Feline Panleukopenia
  • Giardiasis
  • Bordetellosis
  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis
  • Chlamydiosis
  • Feline Leukemia Virus
  • Rabies
  • Feline Herpesvirus and Feline Calicivirus
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Diagnosis of Allergic Reaction to Vaccines in Cats

Allergic reactions can be caused by a variety of elements in your cat’s environment, causing similar symptoms of a vaccine allergic reaction. Therefore, the veterinarian may want to perform a differential diagnostic exam such as an intradermal allergy test to rule out other causes. 

To diagnose an allergic response to vaccines specifically, the veterinarian will review your feline’s current vaccination history, paying close attention to which vaccines were scheduled to be administered. The vaccination history will reveal which vaccines were administered, the date of administration, and location. The doctor can then pair the medical record with your cat’s current condition to diagnose the allergic reaction to a vaccine. 

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Treatment of Allergic Reaction to Vaccines in Cats

Mild to moderate cases of an allergic reaction can be symptomatically treated with anti-inflammatory drugs such as a corticosteroid. A feline with a mild or moderate allergic reaction to vaccines should return to normal health within a week. However, moderate allergic reactions can worsen over time and become severe, so the feline will need to be monitored for the duration of the allergic response. 

Cats with a severe allergic reaction to vaccines need to be rushed to the veterinary emergency clinic right away. The doctor will begin administering life support to the feline including intravenous fluids and oxygen. The feline’s airways will be monitored to ensure they do not close at any time. Felines that are stabilized will likely survive anaphylaxis, but will require hospitalization for a couple days after anaphylaxis shock before returning home.

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Recovery of Allergic Reaction to Vaccines in Cats

Allergic reaction to vaccines in cats is very rare, but if your feline has a history of vaccine hypersensitivity talk to your veterinarian. The next time the vaccine is needed, the veterinarian may include an antihistamine to prevent an adverse reaction or eliminate the vaccine from your cat’s vaccination schedule altogether. It is important to discuss vaccinations with your veterinarian to fully understand the risks and benefits that come from vaccines. In most cases, the benefits of vaccinating your cat outweigh the risks, which are small by comparison. 

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Allergic Reaction to Vaccines Average Cost

From 339 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,800

Average Cost

$650

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Allergic Reaction to Vaccines Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Domestic Short hair

dog-age-icon

Fifteen Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Itching, Meowing, Restless

I got my cat vaccinated today after neglecting to for several (5+) years because she has been the only cat in a strictly indoor environment. When I got home she began meowing like crazy and walking around restless and scratching and licking at the injection site.

Aug. 20, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, SO sorry to hear about your cat. Sometimes these vaccines may sting. If you are noticing any swelling at the injection site, it would be best for your vet to see her. They can give her some steroids to help decrease any reaction that she may be having.

Aug. 22, 2020

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dog-breed-icon

Domestic Short hair

dog-age-icon

Fifteen Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Itching, Meowing, Restless

I got my cat vaccinated today after neglecting to for several (5+) years because she has been the only cat in a strictly indoor environment. When I got home she began meowing like crazy and walking around restless and scratching and licking at the injection site.

Aug. 20, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Sara O. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Hello, SO sorry to hear about your cat. Sometimes these vaccines may sting. If you are noticing any swelling at the injection site, it would be best for your vet to see her. They can give her some steroids to help decrease any reaction that she may be having.

Aug. 22, 2020

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dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Domestic Short hair

dog-age-icon

Fifteen Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Itching, Meowing, Restless

I got my cat vaccinated today after neglecting to for several (5+) years because she has been the only cat in a strictly indoor environment. When I got home she began meowing like crazy and walking around restless and scratching and licking at the injection site.

Aug. 20, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Sara O. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Hello, SO sorry to hear about your cat. Sometimes these vaccines may sting. If you are noticing any swelling at the injection site, it would be best for your vet to see her. They can give her some steroids to help decrease any reaction that she may be having.

Aug. 22, 2020

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Ragdoll

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4 months

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Unknown severity

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3 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Lip And Gums

My kitten had routine vaccines today. I was wondering if I should take her to the 24/7 clinic to get looked at

Aug. 7, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. That may be a mild vaccine reaction, and if it is not resolving, or if her face is becoming more swollen, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian. It would also be a good idea to mention it to your veterinarian, as some vaccine reactions do worsen over time, and they can give her treatment before her vaccines next time to help prevent this. I hope that all goes well for her!

Aug. 8, 2020

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Ragdoll

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4 months

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Lip And Gums

My kitten had routine vaccines at 6 pm and has a swollen lip and gums. Is it something to worry about?

Aug. 7, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. That may be a mild vaccine reaction, and if it is not resolving, or if her face is becoming more swollen, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian. It would also be a good idea to mention it to your veterinarian, as some vaccine reactions do worsen over time, and they can give her treatment before her vaccines next time to help prevent this. I hope that all goes well for her!

Aug. 8, 2020

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Snuggle bug

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T

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6 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Seizures

My kitten got vaccinated at the pound and now he has seizures one 2 two times a month it never last more than 2 minutes but he keeps having them I don't understand why can anyone who has experienced this problem give an advice and information on what they did and how they went about the situation I'm scared for him because they happen out of the blie

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Sylvi

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Cat

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2 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Immunizations

My 7 lb., 2 year old cat became completely immoble, had a fever of 105, would not eat, drink, or use the littwe box. I rushed her to the vet where she was given 200cc fluids,steroids, and anti-inflammatory. Have not seen her again today. HOpefully, she is just hiding and not dead. All this after 3 immunizations at one time. NEVER AGAIN!

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Phineas P Fluffybuns

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Long haired tabby

dog-age-icon

1 Year

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Mouth Lump
Mouth Open

Our outdoor cat that adopted us a few weeks ago went to the vet on Friday. He is fairly young with dental issues is about all. He got what we believe is his first vaccination for Rabies and leukemia then and as we expected found out he isn’t neutered. My dad noticed him sitting with his mouth open as he was releasing him from the carrier, but not heavily breathing so figured he was stressed (as he hadn’t probably been for a car ride either.) Now it is 3 days later and we haven’t seen hide nor hair of him. He is known to vanish for a few days now and then, but Dad thinks he is dead. Do you think it was stress or a dangerous allergic reaction to the vaccines?

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Oslo

dog-breed-icon

tabby

dog-age-icon

5 Months

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Collapse
Lethargy

We have a 5 month old orange tabby cat named Oslo. We brought him in for a routine rabies (Merial Purevax Recombinant) vaccine and check up. Before this he was a *highly* energetic, playful, talkative kitten. One day after, he began running a fever ranging from 103.5 - 105.1 for 4-5 days afterwards. We brought him to the vet where they performed a blood panel (results came back OK), gave him fluids (under the skin), and 3 days worth of onsior (robenacoxib). We are on day 8 and he is weak to the point where he doesn't walk around for more than a few paces. He is limp, doesn't talk anymore, doesn't play, and is almost lifeless. He hasn't had a fever in 3 days. It is still very difficult to get him to eat and he is even more resistant to drinking water. Has anybody else had a similar experience?

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Monalisa

dog-breed-icon

Calico

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Sick After Vaccines

Igot my semiferal cat , she is about 5 years old, had her for one year, so i decided to take her to the vet to get her vaccines ....they needed to sedated her.. they did a golden blood test, gave her rabies, leukemia shot, respiratiory shoot.. the blood test was good, brought her home...about 4 days later she start getting sick...almost not eating ..2 days ago she is really sick.. haven't eat ...tried everything all the treats she likes...wet cat food , tuna...taking her back to the vet today..i didnt do the leukemia test or fiv test..i am assuming that she had positive maybe? and put her immune system down? very sad....and to have to put her under it will be worse? she is not very manageble.. i can touch her but not pick her up..so its hard to take her to the vet...and makes harder to diagnostic whats going on.. i am devastated....

Allergic Reaction to Vaccines Average Cost

From 339 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,800

Average Cost

$650

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