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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. 

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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

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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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0 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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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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3 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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dog-breed-icon

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

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 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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Domestic Shorthair

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2 years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Noisy Breathing Sneezing A Lot Mouth Breathing.

My Kitty keeps sneezing and is breathing out of her mouth. She had these shots on July 31, 2020 Today is Aug. 4th. Is this a reaction ?

Aug. 5, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I do not think that her breathing through her mouth is related to her vaccines 5 days ago, no. There may be more going on with her, and it would probably be best to have a recheck with your veterinarian. She may have an upper respiratory problem or a viral disease, that they will be able to examine her and see what treatment she needs. I hope that all goes well for her.

Aug. 5, 2020

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Weynie

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tabby

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3 Months

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

Hello! My kitten is three months old and we recently took her to the vet for her FVRCP booster shot and since then (for about 5 days now) she’s been having constant diarrhea. Other than that she’s very well! She does have really potent farts and they stink very much so we submitted a fecal test for her but it came back negative for worms and parasites. Is her diarrhea caused by the booster shot? What should I do?

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Max

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DOMESTIC

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2 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting Lethargic

I took my cats to get their booster shots—rabies and one other I can’t remember. The following day the male started vomiting. Not just a little either, it’s projectile. Saturday he was ok. Then he threw up Sunday and Monday. He’s eating normally but seems less active than normal. I’ve read that lethargy is a common after vaccines but the vomiting can be serious. He was never really a puker before. I tried to call the vet twice today but no one ever answered. He just threw up again tonight and I’m really worried.

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Angel

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Domestic short ha

dog-age-icon

13 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Limping

My 13 year old cat recently had rabies and distemper vaccines, 3 to 4 days later, he was limping and the pretty hopping on three feet. We took him back to the vet. She looked him over and said his paw doesn’t feel broken or fractured. She gave us steroids to give him and gabapentin. He was doing great for a day and half, then woke up this morning limping again. Could this be a reaction to the vaccines? If so how long will this be going on?

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Nuka

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Domestic shorthair

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6 Months

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Itchy
Warm

About 8 hours after my 6 month old kitten received his fvrcp vaccine booster, it appears that his has itchy skin. His fur and ears are twitching. He hasn’t displayed any other reaction. No vomiting or diarrhea or the like. He just isn’t himself. He feels a bit warm to the touch but I’m unable to confirm if it’s a fever.

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Merlin

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Domestic shorthair

dog-age-icon

12 Weeks

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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

Lethargy
Loss Of Balance
Loss Of Appetite
Urinating Outside Litterbox
Lame
Eyelid Squinting

It’s been almost 48 hours since I took Merlin to get his rabies vaccination. He is sleeping all day and not playing, he is not interested in eating, even if I try to coax him with treats and foods that he usually likes. He is drinking a little. He is squinting his eyes like he is constantly blurry from sleep. He looks like he is dizzy whenever he tries to walk anywhere. But he doesn’t want to move at all. He starts crying if I try to pick him up which is unusual for him. I woke up at 3 am and I found 2 puddles of urine in the bed like he tried to get up and walk over to the litter box but didn’t make it but a few steps past his bed. He is warm to the touch but I don’t know if it’s fever or not I am not sure. He isn’t as reactive to noise and sounds like a normal kitten. He doesn’t want to play. Its the weekend and my vet is not open until Monday. What should I do?

Allergic Reaction to Vaccines Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$650

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