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Vaccination side effects?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
My cats were given their rabies, distemper and feline leukemia shots this morning. They were fine the first few hours--bright, alert and eating a snack when I left for lunch. When I returned this evening, I noticed they hadn't eaten all of their late afternoon snack (from autofeeder). And they've been sleeping since. They usually complain if we do not have our nightly play session by 9pm. Not so tonight. They also won't eat their dinner. One of my cats, who usually only goes every 48 hours, has already had two bowel movements. The last one was very soft and just outside of the box.

I've read that cats can feel a bit down a day or two after vaccine shots. When should I worry? I do not detect a fever (but's that's by touch, I do not have a thermometer). Should I force feed them tomorrow or just let them be?
post #2 of 26
Tough, since tomorrow it's Sunday. Offer them their food and see if they'll eat on their own. If they're not improving within 24 hours (from when they had their shots) you should probably try to get a hold of a vet at least so they're aware of the situation.

IMO, this happens from the feline leukemia vac and/or getting so many at once. If you don't want to worry about this in the future consider cutting out the feline leukemia vac or at least getting it done separately from the other vaccinations - or even go so far as to breaking them all up to be given over two week intervals.
post #3 of 26
I agree.
I had posted almost the same thing you did but it ate my post.
The leukemia shot killed my lucy.
I also never get more then one shot at a time with my cats.
I get them the 3 in 1 distemper then do the rabies 2 weeks later.
I hope your cat feels better.
The leukemia shot violates the contracts of my sphynx also because it is not considered a safe shot.

post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
I will post about the conversation I had with the vet about the "core" shots. I wish I had done more research before the visit. What an idiot and now my cats suffering.

But for now, I'm going to focus on getting them better. I found them this morning in the same places I left them last night. One on the sofa and the other in the stroller. Dory, left the sofa when I went to her. She used the litter box but didn't leave anything. She used the box 3 times last night so I think she's evacuate everything but her tummy is still rumbling.

The last time they ate a proper meal was Saturday morning. It was their wet meal. They also got kibble snacks at early and late afternoon. I'm going to make a very soupy wet meal and see if they will eat/drink it. If not, I'll use the syringe. I offered them water first thing in the morning but it was refused by both cats.
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
Strange, 24 hours after the shots would be right about now since we had a 9:15am appointment on Saturday. If the cats do not have fevers, can I wait and monitor?
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
I tried to feed Josie but she increased her crying and started to hiss. Her vocalizing is something I haven't heard before, a combo of whining and low rumbling meow. I read that one reaction from vaccinations is that cats do not want to be touched. Dory isn't vocalizing in the same way at all. She did come running out when Josie was making the racket. And now she's outside of the cardboard box Josie is hiding in.

I wonder if I just let them be for a few more hours and see if the effects lessen rather than stress them out with feeding.
post #7 of 26
I am not an expert by any means but if I read your post correctly, you have and vet apt this morning?

It does seem odd they they would all react to their vaccines.
I had a kitty who reacted to the rabies vax with some very strange neurological symptoms and have read about other members with similar reactions.
You might want to take your sickest in to be checked...
then you can discuss the best treatment for all your kitties.
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
No the vet appointment was yesterday morning. It's Sunday here and the vet office is closed.

The cats were fine up until yesterday afternoon. And even when I got home at around 7pm, they still came to the door to greet me and hung out in the building lobby. But they started to sleep soon after and have been lethargic and grumpy since. One has had diarrhea. No fever and vomiting. So the most obvious signs that something was wrong has happened within the last 12-14 hours.
post #9 of 26
It is rare that all of them would have a reaction, what kind of vaccine was it (live / modified live etc & was it purevax - I wonder if there could be something in the aduvent)

I would at least call a vet and ask about the symptoms, it may be common with the Leukemia shot (I don't give it, so have no experience) since it is a harsher vaccine
post #10 of 26
Originally Posted by icklemiss21 View Post
It is rare that all of them would have a reaction, what kind of vaccine was it (live / modified live etc & was it purevax - I wonder if there could be something in the aduvent)

I would at least call a vet and ask about the symptoms, it may be common with the Leukemia shot (I don't give it, so have no experience) since it is a harsher vaccine
I have to agree...
if your kitties health deteriorates further, you need to find a vet available on Sunday if possible.

After your kitties recover from this...
you can learn about the new vaccine types and the protocols that are now recommended.
I wish you and your sweeties well.
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
I'm embarrassed to say I don't know the specific types of vaccines. The rabies were for 3 years.

The cats are up and alert. One did a bit of grooming. The other is looking out the window. Obviously not their usual selves but they have emerged from their slumber a bit. They are not eating the kibbles I've left out for them. I usually do not free feed at all.

I did give them a couple of syringes of pedialyte each. They weren't happy with it but they did allow me a couple of shots before getting really grumpy. I'm going to do this every hour or two to see if hydrating them will speed their recovery. I'm also heading out to pick up some baby chicken or turkey food. If they won't eat it out of their bowls, then I'll syringe.

They do not have fevers and they're breathing normally. I will feed and hydrate by gentle force until they eat on their own. If they remain stable, as they seem to be now, I think we can wait until Monday morning when the vet will open at 8:30.
post #12 of 26
I think both of them are ill because they both got all the vaccinations at once. It's hard on kitties to get over this.

Do you at least have a emergency number you can call if necessary?

When Sherman had his reaction he got very sore in the leg they gave it in, he was probably the most dramatic cat of mine that has had a reaction in that he cried and dragged his back end because he refused to use his sore leg. (it really wasn't quite that bad ) He had a low fever that would spike up some and his pupils stayed slightly dilated in light.

It's really your choice if you want to push and get treatment sooner or wait this through. But if it's not better by Monday you have to get them in that morning because you don't want them going without food too long.

Maybe try luring them into eating later with some water off of tuna mixed with their food?
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Strange, if they aren't eating on their own by tonight, I'm skipping work and taking them into the vet first thing in the morning. Meanwhile, they will get some food by force.

There is a vet hospital a couple of miles away. If there is a drastic turn, I'll take them to the ER.

Even if they're fine by tomorrow and will not need vet attention, I'm considering a strongly worded letter to the vet. Our annual visit consisted of a routine check of the cats and their shots. All in all, the vet saw my cats for about 10 minutes. He did not warn me about the complications of multiple shots in one go. He did not even mention that cats may even have mild reactions from vaccinations. It was just, "Cats look great, here are their shots and have a great day". It's not his fault that my cats have reacted badly, he couldn't predict this. I'm just a little disappointed that he didn't bother to mention some possible complications. Especially as it seems like mild reactions are not at all uncommon. Why didn't he bring this up?

I like this vet and his office very much but I'm not happy with the annual check-up that we just got. I expect a little more diligence for $350.
post #14 of 26
Originally Posted by tdonline View Post
I like this vet and his office very much but I'm not happy with the annual check-up that we just got. I expect a little more diligence for $350.
Wait, you paid $350 for yesterday?!
I would be P.O.ed too!

I've never had any vet come out and say "hey, this vac combination could make your cat sick", but when confronted with a cat that has reacted badly vets will always say that it happens often. This is pretty much one of those topics that you have to push the vet to discuss with you and answer honestly. Doctors do this, too. I think they worry that they'll scare off their customers if they're blunt and honest about everything.
My vet doesn't do the 3 year rabies, yet (county doesn't accept it). Many on here will warn that it's more likely to cause side effects - some have even said that their vets did tell them this, so not all vets blow people off.

I'm glad that you have an ER option and plan if needed. I hope they do get better before you need to resort to more vet care, though.
post #15 of 26
It is not unusual to give cats all their shots in one day, apart from some people on here being very informed, the majority of people do give them all in one day - and its certainly common for rabies and FVRCP (the usual combo vaccine) in one day, but the Leukemia vaccine may have pushed them that bit futher

The 3 year rabies does contain adjuvent also, so that raises the possibility of side effects

The side effects of the Leukemia shot are
There are some potentially serious side effects from the leukemia vaccine that need to be taken into consideration when deciding to vaccinate a cat. Adverse effects from vaccination can include local swelling or pain, transient lethargy or fever, post-vaccination granuloma formation (a gathering of inflammatory cells that cause a benign lump), and most seriously, vaccine associated sarcomas. A sarcoma is a type of a mass that is comprised of cancerous cells. Sarcomas can spread from the site of the injection down into surrounding connective tissue, muscle, and bone
More info here
post #16 of 26
Even if your cats are better by Monday, you do need to discuss what happened with your vet. I have one cat who has to have his shots spread out because he once had such a bad reaction of the Rabies shot.
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
Cautious good news. After my last post, I syringed another 6ml of pedialyte per cat. Afterwards, I offered a nearby plate of kibble to Dory and she ate it on her own! So I grabbed another plate (I left a few around overnight to encourage them to eat) and offered it to Josie but she wouldn't bite. I popped one into her mouth and that was enough to get her to eat the rest of the plate.

I went out and bought some baby chicken food. They wouldn't eat it on their own so I syringed 15CC per cat. What a mess but they did manage to eat most of the food. Dory did show interest in playing with plastic bags (her favorite solo activity) and she groomed after eating. She looks to be further along than Josie. But at least Josie is no longer crying strangely or staying away from me. She's actually right next to me and snoozing. They both are, I'm going to let them be for awhile. Afternoon is usually their heavy sleep time anyway so I'm not going to disrupt the schedule.

Thanks everyone for riding this out with me. I will definitely let the vet know about this. I've calmed down a bit so the letter or call's tone will be about informing the vet to note this for future vaccinations of my cats.
post #18 of 26
I hope they feel better.
I would discontinue the leukemia shot and would ask about the purvax rabies shot.

post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
Both are fully recovered. Dory was back to herself by Sunday night. Josie was being a bit of a drama queen and when I woke up on Monday, she was still sitting in the stroller. And whining. So I picked her up and took her to the litter box. It had been awhile and I couldn't let her be for much longer. The doofus complained but did head towards the box once I dropped off her at the bathroom door. She did her business and that was that.

The one residual effect seems to be constipation. They haven't gone since early Sunday morning. Maybe it's because they went a day without food and the mild diarrhea messed up their schedule?
post #20 of 26
I am so glad that they are recovered.
I think that you are right about their constipation.
They are probably mild dehydrated.

Be sure that their vet charts their post vaccination reaction so it is in their medical records.
post #21 of 26
My boy, Walter, also had a reaction to his Leukemia shot a couple of weeks ago. I know it was the Feleuk that did it because the injection site was red, swollen and painful. I was surprised, because he'd never had any problems with his vax in the past. His symptoms were a lot like your cats' - not eating at first, lethargic, and just "not quite right" but his lasted for an entire week. I was able to get him to eat the next day, so my vet wasn't overly concerned and he did eventually return to normal.

I called my vet and asked him to make a record of the event so that next year we'd remember to pre-medicate Walter with antihistamines BEFORE his vaccination and you'll never believe what I found out:

Apparently the vaccine manufacturer had sent my vet 100 new Feline Leukemia vaccines and asked him to report back to them if any cats had any reactions to it!! What the...?! Walter was the only cat out of 100 that had any problem, but I was really upset that my vet used my cat as a "guinea pig" without my consent. Especially with a breed (sphynx) that is often sensitive to vaccinations. I was so shocked, it didn't occur to me to even ask what brand/manufacturer this was... but believe me, this will be a topic for discussion next time I go in. I'm actually surprised he even told me.

This makes me wonder, how often do vets do this kind of stuff without our knowledge? In fact, I tend to believe the vet was given the 100 vaccines for FREE in exchange for testing them on his patients, though I paid full price for it, and probably would have been charged for any treatment had I taken Walter in because he had a reaction to it.

Sorry to veer a little bit off topic, but I'm curious if this new Feleuk vaccine wasn't to blame in your case, too...?
post #22 of 26
Is there any reason they need the leukemia shot(they go outside, live or have contact with a positive cat?) because generally it isn't necessary but I can understand wanting to get it done 'just in case.' I don't have this issue all of mine(6) already have leukemia. Maude did get the vaccine before we moved Attitude and Nuts inside and she was negative when she crossed the bridge. She was a little cranky after the shot and bit Paul so bad after the shot he bled like crazy, the vet was shocked at the damage she did, so I think it was the fact that she had to go to the vet and then deal with 2 kittens she already knew she hated. Lets just say she wasn't the nicest cat in the world and was going to 'punish' Paul for taking her to the vet. If it wasn't for Attitude and Nuts(they plus one other kitten from thew litter we had PTS'd have tested positive so we know everyone has it) I never would have known that leukemia is endemic to this area and that if Maude had got out, she was inside only but until the dog died(the dog went out the door and never came back so she wasn't going through the door) she would occasionally door-dash, she could have come home sick.

post #23 of 26

Sorry to hear about Lucy! What did she act like after the shot and how long after did she pass. My little cat had leukemia shot on Friday and she is still acting bit off. No fever, and is eating and drinking but is acting more sleepy and just not herself


post #24 of 26
My cat Lucky had her yearly vaccinations and she doesn't appear well at all. She clearly is in pain when I pick her up and after reading the outcomes of the leukaemia shot brought me to tears.
Lucky is eating, going outside but struggled to jump.... Can anyone resurrected me?
post #25 of 26
Can anyone reasure me.
post #26 of 26
Originally Posted by hboughen View Post

Can anyone reasure me.



Your cat may be a little sore from the vaccine injection long ago was it when you took your cat in for the vaccine?  If the cat seems to be eating and running around, but only feels pain when you pick it up or it tries to jump, then I would guess it is just injection site soreness and should go away within a day or two.   If it's been longer 2-3 days since the shot and you're still seeing these symptoms, then I would call your vet and ask them.   I specifically asked the vet about the feline leuk vaccine when he gave it to my girl last year (I only got it for her since she is a former street cat, and sometimes sneaks outside when I open the door) and he told me that only about 1 in 10,000 cats has a problem with it, so odds are on your side!

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