Avoiding Cat Vaccine Reactions

A cat vaccine can have a lot of benefits by protecting the cat from diseases that may be highly contagious. However, cat vaccines may also have side effects and negative reactions such as fever, redness and swelling at the injection site, lack of appetite, vomiting or flu like symptoms. Some vaccinations may have more severe side effects such as sarcomas, neurological damage, kidney or liver problems or even death. Even if some side effects (sarcomas or redness and swelling of the injection site) cannot be avoided, you may prevent the occurrence of some common reactions.

Select the Vaccine Needed for Your Cat

You may avoid cat vaccine reactions by avoiding certain vaccinations.

Not all available vaccines should be applied in cats. The core vaccines are the only ones that are necessary. The core vaccines include the rabies shot and the FVRCP vaccine (which is a mixed vaccine that protects against 3 common feline diseases). The non core vaccines include the FIV vaccine, the feline leukemia virus shot and the Chlamydia shot. The non core vaccines typically have more side effects and these side effects are more severe (i.e. benign or malignant tumors, kidney or liver problems, nervous system damage or eating disorders).

Also, some vets only recommend boosters once every 3 years, not every year. Consult your vet and make sure you get the necessary vaccinations in time, but try to avoid superfluous boosters.

Cold Compresses

Almost all vaccines and boosters will cause redness and swelling at the injection site. To minimize these side effects you should apply cold compresses or ice packs on the injection site, a few hours after the administration of the shot.

Apply the cold compresses or ice for 30 minutes and then allow the skin to breathe; reapply the cold compresses after 30 more minutes. Continue for 2 to 3 hours.

Immunity Support

The side effects of vaccines may be more serious in immunocompromised cats. Offering immunity support will diminish the likelihood of severe reactions after vaccination.

You may opt for some supplements (omega 3 and 9 fatty acids) that will boost the immune system of the cat.

Natural immunity boosters such as Echinacea drops may also be used.

Apply these treatments at least 4 weeks before the scheduled date of the vaccination, so that they start being effective.

Force Feed Your Pet

Certain feline vaccines will cause lack of appetite and you will have to force feed your pet to prevent anemia or weight loss.

You may switch to wet food for 3 days after the shots, as the cat is more likely to eat softer food.

Monitor the Injection Site

Cats may develop tumors at the injection site. Even if you cannot prevent the occurrence of tumors, you may prevent these from developing by applying treatment as early as possible. Monitor your cat’s vaccination site and notify your vet if you notice an unusual swelling. Note that the injection site may be swollen for up to 5 days, as this is a normal reaction.