Vaccine Reactions

Our best methods at disease prevention have a down side risk. Here are the facts.



When my cat gets her shot series, she seems sick the next couple days, and even has foam coming from her mouth. What causes this, and is it harmful?


Dr. Nichol:

Your poor kitty is having an allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). That drooling is a sign of nausea. Her next vaccinations could cause her to have intense itching of her head and neck, vomiting, or difficulty breathing. She could get dangerously ill. Annual boosters could lead to shock-even death in a sensitized cat like yours.


You can reduce her risk by having her doctor pre-treat her with Benedryl, vaccinating less often, or if she’s strictly indoors, stop altogether. The major teaching institutions have approved a new, safer schedule of feline boosters. Less frequent vaccinations is safer while still providing adequate protection.


Taking your cat to the doctor less often sounds like good news. But a thorough exam every 6 months is still the best way to keep any pet alive and well for the long haul. Without all that needle poking, your cat will like her doctor better anyway.