If you are reading this, two possibilities stand true for you regarding your furry friend. The first possibility is that you have witnessed the difference in how they walk after getting a vaccination shot. The second possibility is that you have been advised to get your dog vaccinated and want to know what to expect.
Either way, we are here to extend our help to the best of our knowledge and in every possible manner. This is to familiarize yourself with the process of what happens after your dog gets vaccinated.
At some stage or the other, you would have come across a scenario where you took your beloved dog to a veterinarian to get a vaccine. You would have wondered as to what exactly happens after your dog gets vaccinated.
Why is it Necessary For Dogs to Get Shots?
The vaccine helps build immunity and protects your dog from diseases. The veterinarian will also give your dog a shot of the rabies vaccine. The entire process of vaccination usually takes about 10-15 minutes. After the vaccination is complete, your dog will be ready to go home. It is rather crucial, like in humans, to keep your dog’s vaccinations up-to-date. You should take your dog for a vaccination shot every year or at the intervals as prescribed by your dog’s vet.
How Do Dogs React to Shots?
Well, humans, too, react differently to different vaccinations. Recent Covid-19 vaccinations have proven how the same vaccine can show positive results in some human beings while it can adversely affect the health of others.
Vaccinations help a great deal to protect your dog from diseases. The veterinarian will give your dog a shot of the vaccine depending upon your dog’s age and risk factors. Dogs respond differently to vaccinations, but typically you will see a noticeable change in their behavior and movement shortly after receiving a vaccine shot.
7 Reasons With Their Solutions
Here are some of the reasons why your dog is having trouble walking after shots and what you can do to make it more comfortable for your dog.
#1. Pain From The Shots Themselves
The most natural reason your dog faces trouble walking properly after getting a shot of vaccination is because of the pain. Most of the time shots are given in the hind legs, so it is likely to experience some pain and difficulty walking. The pain can range from being mild to extreme. When the pain is severe enough, it can cause your dog to limp. Your dog could be limping for days at a stretch before the pain fully subsides.
However, if the dog does not show any improvement even after a few days, it is best to take advice from the vet or go for a check-up. There could be other reasons, such as an infection or a tumor causing difficulty in walking.
#2. An Infection Has Developed
This brings us to the second most natural and common cause that may be troubling the walk of your dog. When your dog gets the shot, there is a high probability that the injected area will get infected. It could initially be visible as redness or bump at the injected site.
In such a case, you must take your dog to the veterinarian. The veterinarian will examine the dog and may perform some tests, such as taking a sample to determine the cause of the infection. Treatment will depend on the cause of the infection. It may include giving a dose of antibiotics or dressing the infected area.
#3. Inflammation Due To Infection
Ideally, if you take your dog to an experienced vet, there will be no inflammation right after taking the shot. In case the injected area develops an infection, inflammation can occur.
Symptoms of infection-associated inflammation in dogs include fever, swollen lymph nodes, vomiting, diarrhea, and coughing. Treatment depends on the cause of the infection and may consist of antibiotics and antiviral medications.
#4. Allergic Reaction To The Vaccine Components
There can be many reasons as to what caused allergy to your dog in the first place. Vaccines themselves can be responsible for causing an allergy. Further, allergies can also depend on your dog’s health status or diet. If your dog faces an allergic reaction to the vaccine, the veterinarian may give it a dose of antihistamine or steroids to help relieve the symptoms.
Monitor your dog’s condition and symptoms, and report any changes to the veterinarian. Keep your dog away from other animals until the allergic reaction has subsided.
Swelling can occur in any area of the body that has been exposed to an allergen. It may cause the area to become stiff and difficult to move. Perhaps, that is why your dog finds it hard to walk properly.
#5. The Shots Caused Muscle Sore
There are so many reasons that can cause soreness in muscles after shots. One of the main causes is inflammation in the muscles. In rare cases, shots can cause tiny tears in the muscles, a possible reason for the sore. The initial cause could be due to the release of lactic acid, production of antibodies, cortisol, or adrenaline.
Whatever the cause may be, if it does not subside on its own or give your dog too much trouble, the best would be to seek professional help as soon as possible. You can further provide your dog with some heating mechanism so that your dog’s muscles do not go stiff because of the soreness by the time you give some medical aid.
#6. Pain From An Underlying Condition
The chances are that the underlying condition for which you were seeking the shot for your dog persists. In case the condition has not been treated effectively with the shots, the shots are not the cause of the pain. Perhaps the original pain surfaced, causing your dog to limp or have trouble walking.
A thorough check-up is needed to reach the final conclusion. Ensure that the treatment is given this time, keeping in mind the history of the condition.
If your dog is having trouble walking after shots, take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible to rule out any condition mentioned above.
#7. Difficulty Walking Due to Psychological Factors
One of the most important factors that could be causing your dog to walk with a limp could be psychological. Feelings of anxiety or fear can easily creep in your dog, especially if they are young, which can cause discomfort. Pups can instead get worked up by new experiences or environment; it is essential to ensure their comfort and safety to avoid any such situation.
You can do a few things to help ease your dog’s anxiety. Make sure your dog has a safe space where they can retreat if they get overwhelmed. This could be a designated spot in your home or a crate. Try to create a routine for your dog and stick to it as much as possible. This will help them feel more comfortable and secure. Provide plenty of positive reinforcement when your dog behaves in a way you want them to. This will help them feel good about themselves and increase their confidence.
Also Read:- 18 Common Health Problems in Large Breed Dogs
Things To Do to Minimize Side Effects Of Shots In Future
In an emergency, your dog’s veterinarian can prescribe shots to your dog rather than oral medication because shots work faster. It could be used to provide immediate relief in the case of gastrointestinal disorders. At times, pain killers are also induced through shots to give quick relief.
In case, you are taking your dog for a scheduled vaccination shot, there are a few things that you can keep in mind to ensure that the process goes smoothly for your furry friend.
#1. Keep Your Dog Hydrated
Ensure that your dog is well-hydrated before taking the shot. Drinking lots of fluids can help to flush the vaccine from your dog’s system quickly. Staying hydrated is really crucial for the otherwise well-being of your dog.
Some dogs can experience vomiting or diarrhea as a reaction to the shot in which case it is a good idea to keep a close eye on your dog and have plenty of water on hand just in case.
#2. Pain Relief Medication
If your dog has had a history of suffering physically owing to getting a shot, then, probably the vet had already prescribed an over-the-counter pain relief medicine for your dog. After consulting with the vet, you can provide your dog with some medication to ensure that the pain doesn’t become an issue during or after the procedure.
#3. Avoid Physical Activity
Our hyperactive pets can lack energy on days they feel physically weak. Getting a vaccination shot can cause your dog to feel weak and tired. In such a scenario, you should avoid any strenuous physical activity for them. You should try to get them as much rest as possible.
#4. Extra Care
If your dog is particularly anxious, you may want to consider asking your vet to give them the shot in a private room. Avoid touching or scratching the area where your dog received the injection, and keep that area clean and dry.
There are some experiences in life that cannot be avoided, it is important to take these with a pinch of salt, and be prepared for a bit of a struggle. Just understand that more than anything else, your dog needs your attention and care. Try to remain calm and positive, and make the process as quick and painless as possible. Reward your dog with a treat or a special toy after the shot is given, to help them associate getting a vaccine with something positive.
Like a loving dog-parent, it is understandable how much pain you feel when your dog is hurt. Dogs provide us with companionship, loyalty, endless love, and security, so it is natural to feel upset when they are injured. Sometimes, the sense of helplessness can make us go haywire over the simplest things. In a dire situation, try to remain calm and focused so you can make the best decisions for your dog. However, it is best to seek professional help from the vet. Remember that they are experts in their field, and they are trying their best to help your dog.
Dr. Lillian is a D.V.M. passionate about promoting awareness of dogs. She shares her expertise through her blogs on canineweekly.com and provides animal care services, including internal medicine, dermatology, and emergency care. Dr. Lillian is committed to contributing to animal welfare.