What to Expect After Vaccines - Puppies
Most puppies do very well after their vaccinations and show little to no sign that anything happened at all.
It is normal to see the following for a day or two after vaccines are given:
- Discomfort at the site of injection
- Lethargy or reluctance to play
- Mild fever
- Mild warmth or swelling at the site of injection
- Reduced appetite
- Sneezing after an intranasal vaccine
If any of these symptoms persist for more than 72 hours, please let us know. While mild pain at the site of injection is normal, we don’t want your pet to be uncomfortable. If you feel that your puppy is in pain please let the office know. We are very happy to set up a safe and effective pain medication that you can give at home, and we can refill this with each vaccine visit.
More severe reactions are rare but do occur. More severe reactions that are not normal include:
- Facial swelling
- Difficulty breathing
These symptoms may be signs of a severe allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis and should be taken seriously. They typically occur within a few hours of the vaccine being given. If you see any of these symptoms in your puppy after vaccinations are given you need to call right away and bring him/her in to be seen. If our office is closed, you need to take your puppy to be evaluated at an emergency center. Our doctor on call can help you determine if this is necessary if you are unsure what to do.
Depending on the severity and type of symptoms seen, puppies that exhibit these more severe vaccine reactions will need to have certain precautions taken before getting further vaccinations. These precautions might include: Spacing out and separating vaccines, giving Benadryl or other medications before vaccinations, or monitoring your puppy in the hospital for some time after vaccines are given.
Lumps can sometimes be felt after a vaccine is given. This is not an allergic reaction to the vaccine but rather a normal part of the inflammatory response to a vaccine, and they typically resolve without any intervention. However, if a lump remains for longer than three months after the vaccine was administered, it needs to be examined by a veterinarian and likely removed or at least sampled.
Once a pet has experienced a vaccine reaction it is very important to make sure your veterinary team is aware of this history - especially if you move or change veterinarians for some other reason.