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What are Vaccine Allergies?

Allergic reactions to vaccines are abnormal reactions to the vaccine itself, or they can be the result of the body overreacting to a vaccination. Dogs commonly experience some side effects that result from receiving a necessary vaccination. While these symptoms are typically not a cause for concern and will resolve within one or two days, if the symptoms persist or they cause a lot of discomfort, it will be necessary to contact your veterinarian. You may see redness at the injection site and your pet could be lethargic for a day or two. While these are not serious effects, you may want to call your veterinarian if symptoms linger or worsen.

Vaccine allergies can occur in dogs after they receive standard vaccinations. Symptoms can vary, and complications can occur if the side effects don’t resolve on their own.

Vaccine Allergies Average Cost

From 569 quotes ranging from $400 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,200

Symptoms of Vaccine Allergies in Dogs

An allergic reaction to a vaccine could happen right away, or it could take as long as 48 hours to manifest. Also, allergic reactions are more common with booster shots rather than initial vaccines because the immune system will already have a memory of the disease that the vaccine works against, and could mistakenly react to the vaccine as if it were harmful to the body. 

Symptoms of vaccine allergies include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Swelling or redness at the vaccine site
  • Puffiness around the ears, muzzle, and/or eyes
  • Bumps or hives all over the body

Although very rare, more severe allergic reactions can occur. These include anaphylactic reactions, collapse, and death. 

Types

There are several different types of allergic reactions that can occur after a vaccine is administered:

  • Anaphylaxis - Although rare, this allergic reaction is life threatening and can result in respiratory failure, cardiac failure, shock, and death if left untreated. The reaction could happen within minutes or hours of injection. Common signs include sudden vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, coma, shock, cyanosis, a weak but rapid pulse, and facial swelling.  

  • Eye and neurologic disease - Inflammation of the brain or eyes may occur.
  •  Reactions at the injection site - Irritation, swelling, pain, and redness can develop at the site of injection, typically anywhere from 30 minutes to a week after the vaccine is given. Abscesses can also form at the site of injection.

  •  Respiratory symptoms - A mild cough, sneezing, or discharge from the nose can occur as an allergic reaction to intranasal vaccinations.
  • Decreased activity and appetite, as well as depression and mild fever - These symptoms can occur for about one or two days after receiving a vaccine.

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Causes of Vaccine Allergies in Dogs

  • Allergic reactions will vary depending upon the type of vaccination that is administered 
  • Occurrence of an allergic reaction will depend upon an individual dog’s immune system and how it reacts to the components within a vaccine
  • The breed and age of your dog will also play a role in whether or not he has an allergic reaction
  • Researchers have found that the more vaccines that are administered at the same time, the higher the risk for an allergic reaction, particularly for small canines
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Diagnosis of Vaccine Allergies in Dogs

If an allergic reaction to a vaccine occurs immediately or a few minutes following administration at your veterinarian’s office, they will be able to provide prompt relief and treatment as soon as symptoms become apparent.

If your dog receives a vaccination and begins exhibiting any of the symptoms associated with an allergic reaction after going home, contact your veterinarian right away, especially if the symptoms are severe.

Usually, your veterinarian will not have to perform any formal tests in order to determine if an allergic reaction to a vaccine is occurring. Instead, clinical signs and examination findings, along with the records of a recent vaccination, will likely be enough information to diagnose the condition in a timely fashion. However, your veterinarian may want to do a complete blood count, urinalysis, and fecal analysis in order to determine if any organ systems in the body have been adversely affected. These diagnostic tools can also determine if your pet has an underlying illness that may have caused a vaccine reaction.

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Treatment of Vaccine Allergies in Dogs

Treatment for vaccine allergies in dogs will depend upon the level of allergic reaction and the type of vaccine that was administered. Your veterinarian will determine what the appropriate treatment will be after thoroughly examining your dog. 

If your pet is experiencing a mild reaction to the vaccine such as redness around the injection site, the veterinarian may administer an antihistamine or an injection of  cortisone to reduce the swelling. If there is vomiting, the veterinary team may monitor your dog for an additional time before allowing you to take your dog home.

In the case of an anaphylactic reaction, your dog may have to be admitted to the clinic for intravenous therapy or additional medical intervention such as oxygen support or epinephrine. Once the veterinarian feels he is out of danger, your pet will be allowed to go home. The veterinarian may recommend you monitor your pet at home for the next several hours to few days.

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Recovery of Vaccine Allergies in Dogs

The sooner you can get your dog to the clinic after the development of  signs of an allergic reaction to a vaccination, the higher the odds that he will recover, especially if the signs are severe. Overall, the prognosis for vaccine allergies in dogs is good. Dogs very rarely suffer from long-term side effects after a receiving vaccine, and it is also very rare that a dog will die as a result of receiving a vaccine. If your pet has an allergic reaction to a vaccine, this will be noted in his file at the clinic so that necessary precautions can be taken when the next vaccine is due.

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Vaccine Allergies Average Cost

From 569 quotes ranging from $400 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,200

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Vaccine Allergies Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Miniature Schnauzer

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Four months

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Puffiness

My dogs eyes got all puffy and she toke her shots today

Aug. 4, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If she is still puffy, it would be best to have her seen today by a veterinarian, as that is a reaction to her vaccines. If she is better now, you should be okay to watch her at home, but it is important to call your veterinarian and let them know that she had that reaction so that they can treat her for it at her next vaccines. I hope that she is okay.

Aug. 4, 2020

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Taco Terrier

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking And Puffy Face

My dog had a rabies shot alone with a heart guard shot.She is shaking and face is swollen.Is this normal?

July 30, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It sounds from your description like your dog is having a reaction to one of those two injections, and it would be best to either call your veterinarian right away and take her back again, or take her to the nearest emergency clinic if your clinic is closed. I hope that she is okay.

July 30, 2020

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Black Lab

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1 1/2

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Severely Itchy

My 1.5 yr old lab recieved her rabies and distemper vaccinations last Thursday. On Friday, she was wore out, hardly ate and very tired. Saturday, she started being extremely whiney, along with her becoming very itchy. Yesterday and today, she is still itchy but if you itch her in certain spots, it looks as her back legs paralyze. She was fine until she got those 2 vaccines.

July 21, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello It sounds like your pup is having a delayed vaccine reaction. This can cause lethargy and itchiness. I recommend that you take her to a veterinarian for an exam. Good luck.

July 21, 2020

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Brennan

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chihuahua mix

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Five Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Immobility
Pain/Discomfort At Injection Site
Unable To Use Restroom

Brennan received his Bordetalla, Rabies, and deworming vaccine five days ago. He was extremely nervous and fidgeted around a lot at the vet. It was very hard for the vets to be able to implant the vaccines. At first, he was lethargic and experienced extreme discomfort and pain at the injection site. He was slowly getting better until today, when my younger nephew was petting him near the injection site when he suddenly yelped. Afterwards his symptoms reverted back to what they were like when he initially received his vaccines. Right now he does not want to go potty or eat anything. He yelps at the slightest touch of the injection site and all he wants to do is rest. His nose isn’t moist like usual. I’ve called a nearby emergency pet hospital and they recommend waiting a few more days since the week isn’t up yet.

Aug. 16, 2018

Brennan's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Localised pain and discomfort is the most common side effect or reaction noted with vaccines, you should give it a few more days however if Brennan is in a lot of pain or in distress return to your Veterinarian; keep an eye on the injection site and ensure that there are no signs of discharge or other issues from the site. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 16, 2018

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Bandit

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Chihuahua/ maltese

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18 Months

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking, Trembling.

My 7lb Malchi has an allergic reaction to his vaccinations that was diagnosed by his vet. I think it was back in feb we found this out. Today he is having the same reaction but he hasn’t had any shots. I was wondering how long does a vaccine usually stay in a dogs body before it’s gone? Thanks.

May 9, 2018

Bandit's Owner


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3320 Recommendations

Vaccines don’t spend a long time in the body because they cause an immune system reaction against themselves; it is possible that Bandit has come into contact with an infection and the body is having a similar reaction. You should check in with your Veterinarian to be on the safe side and to give treatment if required. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 10, 2018

My dog has some sort of allergies.She is a 9 year old pit and developed these allergies at about 2 yrs. When her vet gave her an "allergy shot," it took about 3-4 hours,but she had a severe reaction to it. (facial swelling,lumps or hives all over her body,rapid breathing,rapid heart rate. ) I called an emergency hospital (this was a Friday evening) and they told me to give her Benedryl. It worked. My question is (although this is not vaccines)..how can my vet give steroid pills for her allergies with no reaction,but the shot was so severe?

Sept. 11, 2018

Wanda C.

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Gidget

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Schnoodle

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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Critical severity

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1 found helpful

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

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Anaphylactic Shock
Grey Tounge
Shallow Respirations

Our 3year old Schnoodle, Gidget, received her booster vaccine at 11:05am, we left vet office and in route home she became very lathargic and then then vomitted in the back seat while pulling in our driveway. I opened the door to get Gidget out and clean up but she crawled out of the van and went lifeless in our driveway. I immediately called our vet and shared the symptoms with them and they told me to bring her back immediately. It is now 11:25am and I am speeding through town with our 20lb family pet lifeless in my arms not receptive to my voice or touch. I was able to pry my fingers into her mouth to see a grey/blu tounge and she would resist me and choke a bit. I was met in the parking lot by the vet staffed which rushed her into the clinic and had her in IV with Dexamethasone, Epinephrine, Atropine... After about 30-40 mins she was able to lift her head and give some acknowledgement of her surroundings. We were very scared and very lucky to be able to bring her home an hour after the incident. But two day later we are dealing with a dog that has no intrest in eating unless hand fed kibble and a very low energy level. We are wondering when our spunky, playful, loving Gidget will return?

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Kobe

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Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

13 Years

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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

Diarrhea
Lethargy
Vomiting

Hello, I just took my dog yesterday for his annual comprehensive exam. He was vaccinated with bordetella and leptospirosis 4-way and given pyrantel pamoate as well. He was fine when we took him home, but had signs of lethargy a bit after. In the middle of the night, he started having diarrhea and vomited 2xs later in the day. He’s in discomfort due to the diarrhea coming randomly and I’ve been monitoring him. Hoping to get him checked out soon if possible, but are these normal symptoms? If so, what can I do to help provide him some relief?

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Noodle

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Pavement Special

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6 Weeks

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

Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Itch

I adopted a puppy on Friday. Uncertain of age and history but vet predicted 6 weeks. She had her first shots today and is in massive discomfort. Itchy everywhere, eyes swollen, crying. I live in Zanzibar so there isn’t much in the way of medication and my vet said she’ll get over it naturally but I was wondering if there is anything I can do to ease her discomfort.

Vaccine Allergies Average Cost

From 569 quotes ranging from $400 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,200

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