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Kittens usually start receiving their basic vaccines between six and eight weeks old. It’s hard to watch your furry baby brave the needles, but what comes after injections is no easier for cat parents to bear. Felines can experience mild to moderate side effects from vaccines, and feline enthusiasts often turn to the internet to ask: How long do cats hurt after injections?
Vaccination of cats can be subcutaneous (under the skin) or intramuscular (muscle). Sometimes these injections can cause pain around the injection site, but the pain usually subsides within two days. If a cat is lethargic or in pain after 48 hours, it is best to have your pet examined by the veterinarian.
If you’re a cat owner looking for a comprehensive guide to feline vaccines and possible side effects, you’ve come to the right place. This article will explain why cats can experience pain after being hit, other reactions, and how you can help your fur baby feel better.
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Is it normal for a cat to have pain after injections?
Feline immunizations are necessary to keep certain diseases and conditions at bay. These vaccines are designed to help your pet’s immune system prepare against baddies like feline distemper and leukemia and keep your cat fit and healthy.
However, vaccinating cats can also be a less than pleasant experience, much like human vaccines. Besides the needle stick, the administration of the drug may cause mild irritation as the cat’s body absorbs it. And, the injection site itself may feel sore or sore for a day or two.
More often than not, cats receiving intramuscular (IM) injections are likely to experience pain or pain at the injection site. This is because these injections are designed to be administered into muscle tissue. A feline’s muscle, just like ours, has veins, nerves, and arteries running through the muscle, which means even the slightest bite can be aggravated.
Also, IM injections are not without risk because, unlike subcutaneous injections, improper administration can damage blood vessels or nerves. That’s why experts advise a checkup if your feline is still showing signs of pain two days after the injection.
Do Cats Feel Unwell After Vaccinations
Cats may develop mild to moderate side effects after being vaccinated. However, these usually decrease over 24 to 72 hours. Depending on the type of vaccination your cat receives, side effects may include:
- Swelling and pain at the injection site
- Loss of appetite
Sometimes felines can also develop a slight bump around the injection. Although a small bump is a normal reaction to vaccination, cat owners are advised to keep a close watch and pay attention to warning signs such as infection or oozing. If the lump doesn’t go away in seven days or if you notice it getting bigger, have your cat checked out by the vet to make sure there isn’t a serious problem.
In extremely rare situations, cats can have allergic reactions to vaccines. Typically, mild symptoms include swelling around the lips or eyes, hives, skin redness, and irritation. However, severe reactions may include weakness, difficulty breathing, pale gums, etc. If your cat exhibits such symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.
All vaccinations tend to cause mild effects, including in humans. That’s why pet owners shouldn’t be afraid to get their cats vaccinated. Cat vaccinations can be inconvenient, but they are designed to help boost your pet’s immunity. They are an integral part of your pet’s care and maintenance needs and should not be overlooked.
Is it normal for a cat to have a lump after a vaccination
It is not uncommon for cats to develop a lump at the injection site. These bumps are caused by immune stimulation (your pet’s body is reacting to the vaccine) or inflammation and are not cause for concern.
Post-vaccination lumps usually disappear within a week; However, it can also take up to three months for them to fully dissolve.
If you feel a lump under your feline’s skin between the lower neck, lower back, or upper part of the hind legs after three months, it’s best to take your cat to a veterinarian. This is even truer if you suspect the lump is larger than 2cm or growing.
Bumps present near the vaccination site after three months or more may be Feline Injection Site Sarcoma (FISS). They are aggressive fibrosarcomas and can metastasize 25% of the time.
Your vet will likely recommend a biopsy to determine if the tumor is benign or malignant. Your veterinarian will highlight treatment options once diagnosed, including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
What happens if you don’t vaccinate your cat
Failure to vaccinate your cat can expose her to a whole host of feline viruses that can seriously affect her health or, in severe cases, lead to her death.
Vaccines are designed to expose your pet’s immune system to a specific virus or infection to allow your cat’s white blood cells to understand the threat and develop antibodies accordingly. These antibodies eventually target the disease and other infected cells and destroy them.
Vaccines train your pet’s body to remember the infection and fight it off in case it happens again. This is one of the reasons why a few side effects are linked to vaccinations as they stimulate an immune response.
The reluctance of cat parents to see their fur babies suffer is understandable. However, avoiding vaccines can expose your cat to diseases without the right kind of antibodies to ward them off.
Felines that are not vaccinated as kittens can contract diseases such as feline calicivirus (upper respiratory tract infection with mild to severe strains), feline distemper (contagious and often fatal virus), leukemia feline (an incurable deadly virus) and many others.
Things to consider
Cat owners may not be able to prevent their pets from experiencing the pain and side effects of vaccinations. Nevertheless, there are several steps that feline guardians can take to help their fur babies feel better when they return home. Here’s how:
- Lack of appetite is a fairly common side effect of injections in felines. If your pet shows signs of inappetence after being vaccinated, don’t worry. Instead, try enticing your pet to eat a few bites by reheating wet cat food. Hot cat food is more likely to attract your furry baby because it has a more pungent smell.
- Depending on the vaccination, feline parents can also expect their cats to experience pain or a slight fever. It is best to set up your pet’s bed near their food and water bowl in such cases.
- Cats often prefer to be alone when they are not feeling well. If you notice your feline looking for its selected hiding places, don’t stop it from seeking its own company.
- Don’t try to entice your pet to play so it doesn’t think about the pain. Let your pet rest or sleep as much as they want, as they will heal faster this way.
- Check on your pet regularly to see if they are doing well. If you notice symptoms like shortness of breath, pale gums, diarrhea, vomiting, or high fever, contact the vet’s office.