Distemper Vaccine Side Effects

Distemper Vaccine Side Effects

Although the canine distemper vaccine is important, it can have some side effects. This article lists some of the side effects that can affect dogs.
DogAppy Staff
Last Updated: Feb 23, 2018
Distemper is a viral disease that affects dogs, cats, raccoons, foxes, and skunks. The virus attacks the different systems of the body and leads to several health hazards. It affects the dog's respiratory system, causing a respiratory infection, and then proceeds to the gastrointestinal system. After invading the digestive system, the virus can attack the dog's nervous system and causes serious neurological complications. It should not be taken lightly as it is highly contagious and incurable. Hence, all pet owners should vaccinate their dogs, cats, or ferrets, against distemper. Dogs are given distemper shots between the age of 4 to 20 weeks.
As with many other vaccines, even the distemper vaccine is known to have some side effects. It is very important to be aware of the problems associated with different vaccines when you are getting your pet vaccinated. However, it should be noted that not all dogs will have adverse reactions to this vaccine. The side effects are listed below.
Lethargy

It is one of the most common side effects associated with several vaccines and not just the canine distemper vaccine. Puppies may feel sleepy and exhausted after being vaccinated against distemper. They may get grumpy and want to just lie around and sleep. This lethargic effect may last for two to three days after the vaccination.
Mild Fever

As this vaccine is closely-associated with the immune system of the dog, it can lead to a low-grade fever. There is nothing to worry as the elevated body temperature comes back to normal in some time. However, if the fever persists for a long time, medical attention may be required.
Swelling

A lump may be observed at the site of the injection and the whole area may get swollen. The lump is usually absorbed into the dog's system within a day or two. However, if you observe swelling in the facial areas, you should go ahead and consult a medical care provider.
Loss of Appetite

Many puppies experience a loss of appetite post vaccination. It may result in weakness followed by temporary weight loss. Diarrhea or vomiting is also seen in some puppies. The dog may avoid food and water completely, and appear very depressed. Medical intervention may be needed to prevent dehydration.
While most of these side effects were minor, there is one side effect in particular that can be life-threatening at times.
Anaphylaxis

Some puppies may experience an allergic reaction to the drug, which is known as anaphylaxis. This is quite a serious condition, which can be even fatal at times. The symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction include acute vomiting, diarrhea, hives, collapse, low blood pressure, and rapid heartbeat. Additionally, swelling of the face or throat may occur and cause the animal trouble in breathing. This reaction can occur immediately on injecting the vaccine or may take up to 24 hours and calls for immediate veterinarian attention.
Sometimes, the dog may not develop an acute anaphylactic reaction, but may show signs of a mild allergic reaction. The signs include swollen eyelids, a puffy face, swollen lips and ears, and itchiness all over the body. Though these symptoms are not very serious, they may make the puppy uncomfortable and distressed. There is no need to see a vet in this case, as the signs usually abate within a day or two. However, if the condition is severe, you may have to consult a vet.
You should monitor your pet after the vaccination to see if any of these side effects surface. If you observe any serious reactions, you should immediately consult a veterinarian.
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