Adverse Reaction to Pet Vaccine

Cosmo was two weeks overdue for his 3-year rabies vaccine and a few others as well. The veterinarian we had been going to is no longer within our budget. That’s a nice way to say they are very expensive, but I’m not about disparaging a vet so I won’t mention their name. Petco offers affordable pet healthcare and call it Vetco. They come into Petco stores for less than two hours every Saturday and take walk-ins. So we walked in. Cosmo received these vaccines today:

  • 3-year Rabies
  • Bordetella
  • DHP Parvo (DA2HPPv)
  • Roundworm/Hookworm Dewormer

We left with a list of possible side effects to watch for:

  • Lethargy/Depression/Sleepiness
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Limping/Soreness Over Vaccination Site
  • Antisocial Behavior (cats and some dogs)
  • Small Swelling at/over Vaccination Site

Below this list was a number to contact Vetco’s Customer Service department if any of these symptoms/behaviors should occur. I had to call that number. 😦

Cosmo was great, as usual! He barely flinched when he received the shots and only protested a skosh over the nasal Bordetella vaccine. We even ran to the car afterward.

Once home, he went outside, finished his food, and played for a while. He started scratching his ear, which is normal. He continued scratching his ear … not so normal. It was a little pinker than the other ear, but he had just been scratching it. Then he started rubbing his face on the floor and on his paws, which is a normal behavior a couple times each day for about a minute. He stopped, shook his head, and started rubbing his face again. I picked him up and sat on the couch with him by the window where I could see his fuzzy face better. He also felt a little warmer than normal. I didn’t mess with taking the time to take a picture, but have you ever seen the movie Hitch with Will Smith?

Will Smith - Hitch - Allergic ReactionI immediately called the number on the Vetco info sheet, and they got a report started then directed me to call a local vet for advice. I was told by customer service rep, Vincent, that if we should need to go in for treatment, they would reimburse those expenses. He also told me he would be calling back tomorrow for an update.

Our [overpriced] vet was already closed, so I called the next closest pet care place I knew of: Aurora Animal Hospital. The first question I was asked was, “How far away are you?” She didn’t waste any time and only asked for my last name, his name, and my phone number.

When we arrived, she took him from me and straight into the back where they gave him a shot of Benedryl and a steroid. The same girl came back out with an update about a minute later along with a form for me to fill out. Another girl came out with another update and to get the list of vaccines he just received about three minutes after that and reappeared a couple minutes later to return my list and give me another update. Then the doctor came out after another few minutes with a full explanation and said they wanted to keep an eye on him for a little while longer to be sure the swelling was going down. His temperature was a little over 103 (101-102 is normal for a dog). We were there for about 30 minutes.

Everyone at Aurora Animal Hospital was extremely friendly! They didn’t scold me for going elsewhere for vaccines at a lower cost. They also assured me that was not the reason for the reaction.

Even if a dog (or cat) has never had a bad reaction to vaccines in the past, that doesn’t mean they never will. Always, ALWAYS observe your pet after they receive vaccinations. Cosmo’s swelling didn’t start until nearly two hours after he received his.

Cosmo is resting peacefully now on the bare floor instead of his bed; in an odd place, too. He’s in the dining room in front of the china cabinet. He never lays there! Either he’s trying to avoid me, or the floor is cooler over there. I have to give him another dose of Benedryl (25mg tablet) before bed and again in the morning. It’s possible that the swelling can return as the immune system continues to react. So continual monitoring is important. He can continue with the Benedryl every 8 hours for 2-3 days.

We now have to always mention that Cosmo has a history of vaccine reactions, and he will need to be premedicated before any vaccine as subsequent reactions become more severe! This is a lifelong condition.

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