Understanding Cat's Allergic Reaction to Vaccines

A cat reaction to vaccination can vary in severity depending on the type of vaccination administered. Cat vaccines stimulate the immune system of the feline to fight against infectious agents. Some of the commonly used feline vaccines and the corresponding allergic reactions are as follows.

Rabies Vaccine

Rabies is often fatal and has great potential for human exposure. Vaccination must be taken compulsorily. Mild to severe allergic reactions are generally observed in cats.

Panleukopenia Vaccine

Panleukopenia, also called as feline distemper, is a highly infectious disease. Rarely, severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock) is observed.

Feline Herpesvirus and Feline Calicivirus Vaccines

Feline herpesvirus causes feline viral tracheitis, and calcivirus causes upper respiratory tract infections. The vaccination helps in reducing the severity of the infection. However, it cannot prevent the occurrence of the disease. Immediate allergic reactions have been recorded in some cases.

Chlamydiosis Vaccine

Chlamydiosis is caused by bacteria called Chlamydia psittaci. The vaccination is usually taken in a multi-cat environment if the existence of the disease is confirmed in any of the cats. The adverse reaction of the vaccine is usually not severe, and it can be easily resolved by treatment.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis Vaccine

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is caused by feline coronavirus. This is not a severe disease, and vaccination is available. Immediate vaccine-induced allergy is seen, and some cats develop severe adverse reactions. Many think that the vaccine does more harm to the pet than good.

Bordetellosis Vaccine

Bordetellosis is caused by the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica, and it generally affects the respiratory tract. The vaccination will only help in reducing the severity of the infection. Further, mild allergic reaction to this vaccine has been observed.

Giadiarsis Vaccine

Giadiarsis is caused by a parasite called Giardia lamblia. It causes gastrointestinal tract infections, and diarrhea is one of the common symptoms. The reaction induced by the vaccine is usually mild.

Types of Adverse Reactions

Vaccine-induced adverse reactions in cats can be classified into three types: mild, moderate and severe reactions.

Mild Reactions and Treatment

Mild reactions can be resolved through treatment. The mild reactions include fever, decreased appetite, lethargy and sneezing (seen after intranasal vaccination). Lameness and fever after one to three weeks (usually after Chlamydiosis vaccination), and discomfort at the vaccination site are the commonly observed symptoms.

Moderate Reactions and Treatment

Urticaria is indicative of moderate allergic reaction. The major symptoms of urticaria are redness and swelling of lips, eyes and the neck area. Itching is also present. Urticaria may progress into anaphylaxis, which is fatal. This reaction is often treated using antihistamines and corticosteroids (dexamethasone). The drugs are either injected or orally administered.

Severe Reactions and Treatment

Severe reactions to vaccinations are rarely observed in cats. Following are the severe reactions commonly found in felines:

Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening emergency. This condition occurs soon after the vaccination. A veterinarian will protect the airway and administer oxygen with intravenous fluid administration and other drugs, such as epinephrine and corticosteroids, to increase the cat's blood pressure.

Vaccine-induced sarcoma is a type of tumor (malignant) associated with vaccination. This sarcoma usually occurs as a side effect of rabies and feline leukemia virus vaccines. The disease is diagnosed through biopsy. The main treatment measure is surgery and chemotherapy; radiation therapy is also included.