Can a cat have an allergic reaction to a vaccination?


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Reactions to vaccinations are extremely rare but can happen! Aga Zoltowska explains more...

Q) Tiggy has been an indoor cat with no other animals, until we moved and she now has access to a secure garden. She likes to go out but is just as happy indoors.

She had her usual vaccination of Nobivac-FeLV and Nobivac Tricat Trio. She has had this every year apart from the first year when she just had the Tricat Trio. She had a really bad reaction. Within 30 minutes, she started to vomit, was very withdrawn, then I noticed that her face and chin had become very swollen.

I took her to the emergency vet who gave her a high dose of antihistamines, plus something else I can’t recall. They could not say why she had had this reaction. Fortunately, her breathing was not compromised, but they kept her under observation for a while. They were not aware of any other reports of a reaction to the product and she had never shown any reaction to the same brand on previous occasions.

I now have to renew her insurance and note that all insurances have vaccination as a prerequisite for cover. I am also worried about what to do for the vaccination anniversary. Any advice about the danger of future vaccination?

I really don’t know what to do. I don’t want to risk another reaction like that just to get the insurance but I also don’t want to put her at risk. If she were to become ill with no insurance, we would be limited to what we could do. - Your Cat reader.

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I would really need to know a little bit more about your cat (e.g. age and other medical conditions) to be able to give you comprehensive advice. However, there are a few things that I can suggest.

Reactions to vaccinations are extremely rare but can happen! Has your vet discussed the potential reaction with the manufacturer of the vaccination? We need to report the potential reactions. Also, the manufacturer’s technical veterinary team will be able to advise your vet on how to handle the vaccinations in the future.

Discuss with your vet the frequency of vaccinations and the need for all the components yearly. For example, there is a reduced need for vaccinating older cats against Felv. It is worth consulting World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s vaccination guidelines to look for the optimal vaccination programme for your cat.

Regarding the vaccination cover, please discuss the issue with your vet. If you both agree that the potential vaccination reaction was something that could cause a serious health issue, your vet can discuss the advice regarding the vaccination with your insurance company.