What to Expect Following Your Pet’s Vaccination(s)

Shakespeare Veterinary Hospital works closely with veterinary vaccine manufacturers and leading veterinary vaccinologists in developing and maintaining safe and effective vaccination protocols, and adapting them as vaccine technology progresses and our knowledge of existing vaccines increases.

Staying abreast of current developments regarding vaccines in order to keep your pet(s) protected from both diseases and vaccine-related adverse effects remains one of our most important aims.

Nevertheless, some pets still experience some or all of the following mild adverse effects, usually beginning within hours of vaccination:

  • Discomfort and localized swelling at the vaccination site
  • Mild fever
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Sneezing, mild coughing, “snotty nose,” or other respiratory signs may occur two (2) to five (5) days following an intranasal vaccine

If any adverse effects last for more than one (1) to two (2) days, or cause your pet significant distress, it is important you contact us.

A small, firm swelling under the skin may develop at the site of a recent vaccination, which should begin to disappear within one (1) to two (2) weeks. If swelling persists for more than three (3) weeks or appears to increase in size, please contact us.

Rare but serious adverse effects, such as severe allergic reactions, may occur within minutes to hours following vaccination. These allergic reactions can be life-threatening and are considered medical emergencies. Seek veterinary care immediately should any of these signs develop:

  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Pruritus (itchy skin)
  • Facial swelling
  • Severe coughing or difficulty breathing
  • Collapse

Always let us know if your pet has had prior reactions to any vaccine or medication. If in doubt, wait 30 to 60 minutes following vaccination before taking your pet home.

(Adapted from What to expect after your pet’s vaccination. Schaumburg, IL: American Veterinary Medical Association; 2011.)1

Additional Information for Ferret Owners

It is recommended ferret owners observe their ferret(s) following vaccination for 20 to 60 minutes before leaving the hospital.2 Additionally, owners should monitor their ferret(s) for three (3) days following vaccination and report any adverse effects to their veterinarian immediately.2


  1. ^ What to expect after your pet’s vaccination. Schaumburg, IL: American Veterinary Medical Association; 2011.
  2. ^ AFA Ferret (M. putorius furo) Vaccination Policy. American Ferret Association. http://ferret.org/read/vaccinations.html. Published August, 2006.