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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 mild 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.

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Vaccine Allergies Average Cost

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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, although this is also rare.  
  •  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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Bandit

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Chihuahua/ maltese

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18 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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

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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0 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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Celtic

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Chihuahua

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3 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

Bleeding
Pale Mucous Membranes
Bruising
Weakness

My 3 year old chihuahua was vaccinated with the DHPP and rabies vaccination last year within a 3 week period and roughly about a couple of days after his rabies vaccination, he presented with acute immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (he began bleeding through his gums and was not clotting). He had to undergo a blood transfusion which ultimately saved his life. It is unknown as to whether this was caused by the DHPP vaccine or the rabies vaccine or if was caused by the vaccinations at all but now he is due for his vaccinations again and I am terrified. What are the chances that this was caused by the DHPP vaccination? and if it was, how can I protect him against those diseases without the vaccination? This was his first vaccination ever and does not have a history of thrombocytopenia. He is also the oldest in a litter of 3 and his other 2 brothers did not react to the vaccinations.

April 11, 2018

Celtic's Owner

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0 Recommendations

There is some debate about whether vaccination (especially with rabies vaccination) and whether or not there is a link to immune mediated thrombocytopenia; some say there is a link whilst studies haven’t found a statistically significant link. You should discuss this with your Veterinarian and if you choose to vaccinate Celtic again, I would recommend having him monitored regularly for the three to five days after vaccination. There is a link to an article from a reputable website about this subject. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM “No statistically significant association between recent vaccination and a diagnosis of presumptive primary immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (IMT) was found in a recent retrospective study that examined 48 dogs presumed to have IMT and 96 control dogs.” http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/immune-mediated-thrombocytopenia-dogs-vaccination-factor

April 12, 2018

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Vaccine Allergies Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$1,200

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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