DELAYED, prolonged vaccine reaction

jstie

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Have seen many of your posts on immediate (within a day) reactions to vaccines, but has anyone any experience with a severe DELAYED reaction?  Pawnee (5 yrs old, spayed DSH) got a Felocel 4 FVRCP and an Imrab 3 rabies booster on April 30.  She was totally, completely fine for 8 days.  On  Friday (a week ago today) she gobbled up her breakfast, seemed just fine, but got quieter and quieter through the day.  Would not eat Fri eve or Saturday, Saturday eve temp at 104.5.  Took her to emergency vet on Sunday - temp 105.  CBC, basic blood panel and FeLV/FIV tests ALL normal.  Got 250cc fluids subcu and Convenia.  I asked vet about vaccine reaction and he said "very unlikely that far out."  Regular vet (Best Vet in The Universe) saw her Monday and her first thought was vaccine reaction.  Sure enough, Felocell 4 website says 1% of cats develop fever, lethargy, anorexia beginning 7-21 days AFTER vaccine was given, lasting an average of 12 days.  She has spent the week on fluids (subcu and IV), prednisolone, and we've been coaxing her with every possible kind of food (incl KMR).  She had one day of a normal temp (and she ate everything in sight), then it went back up, hovering between 103.5 and 104.  She's still basically very lethargic, eats very little, feels like crap.  Every blood test we've done has come in normal.  We do really think this is vaccine-related, but if anyone has been through this, I'd be grateful for your input.  It seems we just have to do supportive care, with fluids, steroids, and painkillers, and hang in there till it clears.  But it's feeling like a very long haul, and it just kills us to see our tough, smart, active, healthy, opinionated, willful Pawnee in such straits... :-(  She was a stray who adopted us, and has been allowed to continue life as an indoor/outdoor cat, and we do get bats in the house occasionally, so I thought I was being a good CatMom by getting her vaccines.  I also made a mistake in getting the vaccines from the local vet where our vacation home is instead of from our usual home vet, who would not have stacked the vaccines.  She had no difficulty with her first set of vaccines; this was her second vaccination since she's lived with us, and of course we have no clue what her previous history was.  I'm beating myself up royally for all this, of course. 
But if anyone has seen this happen and has any advice, we'd be so grateful...
 

stephanietx

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I've never had a kitty react.  I'm so sorry you're going through this and hope your girl pulls through.  Be sure your vet contacts the mfg to report the reaction.
 

white shadow

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You said she's getting "painkillers".........exactly which drug is this ?
 
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jstie

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"Painkiller" is buprenorphine.  It has noticeably helped her - without it, she hobbles around as little as possible, but after a dose, she's much more comfortable.  You can just see it in her face and how she moves.  This afternoon she has perked up a little - ate a tablespoonful of kibble, about an ounce of canned kitten food and half a slice of deli turkey.  She feels cooler to the touch - will temp her later on.  Poor thing, she must be so tired of being poked and impaled -I try not to harass her any more than necessary.
 

cat nap

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I have never had a cat have a bad reaction from being vaccinated, so I don't have any useful advice, but would like to say, thank you for posting your and Pawnee's story.

I hope at 5yrs old she can recover fairly quickly and is just experiencing some type of "immune reaction" which can regulate itself back to normal.

My cat is 14 years old and also just in the past week needed a dental, so the vet suggested he get vaccinated,  since he would be coming to the clinic and may have to stay overnight.  His reasoning was that at a vet clinic, healthy cats who are not vaccinated can easily pick up illness from other cats.  It would be easy exposure.

So really don't beat yourself up over getting Pawnee vaccinated.  If it is a 1% chance, I still would have proceeded, too.   And yes, as @stephanietx   mentioned....be sure the vet does call the manufacturer to report it.....perhaps they can then make sure that the batch of vaccines that were supplied can be pulled for further testing.

All best vibes for you and Pawnee....
 
 

denice

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I hope your kitty recovers soon.  I have a kitty that reacts to vaccines but it's the quick huge reaction which I think is the usual reaction.  The pain medicine is fine and is the preferred one for kitties.  I remember he had a fever and vomiting.  His nose and the rims around his eyes got really red.  I took him back and he got fluids and a steroid shot.  He was itchy that evening and then fine the next day.
 
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jstie

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Pawnee update... She felt so crappy yesterday morning that we went back to the vet at noon for another buprenorphine injection.  She seemed to perk up a little bit after that, and ate a little more.  Vet had me increase her prednisolone and gave me oral bupe for bedtime.  By 6 PM, she was incredibly sore and extremely lethargic, but her temp was down to 103.1 and she took her evening pred in a pill pocket; gave her a light dose of oral bupe too.  This morning at 4:30 (when my Lasix-enhanced dog gets up to pee!), she jumped off the bed, peed, strolled out into the kitchen, jumped up on the table and chirped for food!!!  Which she ate: half a big can of S/O canned food (she's a FLUTD kitty), which is her normal breakfast.  Dare we hope...?!  Waiting for DH to return from morning errands to temp her, but her paws feel cool and she just looks better.  We're going to keep her on the higher dose of pred till Monday, then try to back it down gradually and see how she holds up.  We are 8 days out from onset of symptoms, 17 days out from the vaccines.  I hope and pray we're rounding a corner here... Thanks to all who've messaged with support and suggestions.  Keep sending vibes!!!

Julie & Pawnee, Queen of the Kansas Prairie

 
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jstie

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Woo-HOOO!  Temp is 101.5!  And I just heard DH holler her name... she had just jumped up on the table and stolen his entire chicken breast!  Will keep monitoring and medicating per Best Vet Ever's instructions, but hoping hoping hoping this is the beginning of the end of this ordeal!
 

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BRAVO!!!   So glad to hear she is getting back to her normal self.  I'm glad you shared the info about delayed vaccine reaction because it isn't generally known and perhaps that will help anyone else who searches for it in the future.  I've never seen it in all my years of rescue.  I've only encountered the immediate reactions, and that was to rabies vaccine alone.  The first time, he had a reaction rather like that described by @Denise, and it wasn't immediate but within the hour.  He got hives on his ears too (he was an orange cat so you could see them.)  The second time he got a rabies shot, they used the kind without adjuvant, and he had a much worse reaction, moaning, vomiting and pooping blood, and was treated immediately with all the appropriate anti-allergy medications and fluids, and ALLERGIC TO RABIES VACCINE was written on his chart and he never got another one after that.  It probably would have killed him.
 
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denice

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I am so glad she is doing well.  I certainly learned something, even though I had a kitty that reacted to a vaccine so I know what the reaction is like I didn't know that it could be delayed.  I do pay extra to go to a very good vet who is a feline specialist.  I have used an emergency clinic twice but yes, like emergency rooms for people, they aren't geared toward diagnostics.  The emergency clinic I go to sends everything to our regular vet when we leave so the next day my regular vet has all the info from them.
 

red top rescue

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Thanks for the happy update.  This is a really good topic to have available for search here.  You will probably save another cat's life with all the information you have shared!
 

pwjprun

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I think our 20 month old cat is going through this. Did your kitty come through it? Any other ideas for how to help her? We thought we were going to lose her.
 
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jstie

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I'm sorry to hear about your sick kitty!  Pawnee recovered and is totally fine, and will NEVER be vaccinated again!  But she was very sick for almost 4 weeks, running a fever and not wanting to eat, etc.  She spent a couple days in the hospital: they would put her on an IV drip during the day and then we'd bring her home at night.  She basically got lots of fluids for the fever and dehydration and steroids to tamp down her immune overreaction.  Sometimes the fever would drop after all the fluids, she'd eat like crazy, then come back the next day.  After the fever finally broke, we had to taper her off the steroids over a week or so.  This turned out to be a known adverse effect of this combined FVRCP vaccine - 1% of cats react this way, and apparently it's riskier because she got the FVRCP and a rabies vaccine the same day.  Supportive care (fluids, tempting her to eat as much as we could) and the steroids are pretty much all you can do.  Pawnee was (and is) a big, strong, otherwise healthy cat, so she had some reserves to see her through.  But it WAS scary!  It took so long for her to feel better, it was really worrisome, but once she did, she was fine.  Hope your kitty gets better quickly!  Love, food, fluids and whatever drugs your vet suggests... good luck.  Write me again and let me know how she does.  Good luck!  Sending good thoughts to you!

Julie and the Mighty Queen of the Prairie Pawnee
 

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Four weeks ago, my four-year old Wedge-head, Seal-point Siamese male cat received his wellness exam and his immunizations and rabies vaccine which were due 3 years since the last ones were given.  I include the detailed information because Siamese cats are sensitive and respond emotionally to even common situations.  About 7-8 days post vaccination he stopped eating, became extremely lethargic.  I took him to the Vet who found no elevated temp, so he gave him fluids, a short-acting steroid, and Cerenea in case he was nauseated.  He did not do blood work.  I was surprised since "Dickens" had pancreatitis about 2 and a half years ago.  I called the vet two days later, and because he felt Dickens  would need an abdominal CT scan, I took him to our MedVet Emergency service to see the Vet who had treated him for the pancreatitis.  Scans were done and, though there was residual evidence of the previous pancreatitis, he felt there was no acute infection currently.  He did admit reluctantly that it was probably a delayed reaction to the immunizations.  Dickens was admitted to the hospital, given fluids, steroids, anti-nausea med and on the 2nd day, Mirtazapine to stimulate the appetite.  I brought him home the third day and he couldn't get enough to eat, was active and more like his usual self, so lad to be home, although not at all playful.  We continued oral steroids, the anti-depressant qod, and stopped the Cerenia.  For a few days I had help giving the medications but finally, since I am 84 and live alone I was unable too give him his meds.  On Dec. 31, I got a bulls-eye pill popper and some help with administering the meds.  I have talked with the MedVet Vet and am giving 2 (5 mg) tabs of prednisone at one time instead of 1 tab bid, and Mirtazipine once a day.  Now, he is limping and starting to act lethargic again, but he did eat somewhat enthusiastically yesterday, nothing yet today. He still is acting strangely, not at all his playful, fun, loving cat.  I was under the impression that he would be recovered within 4 wks of the injection day, which is tomorrow.  Am I being unrealistic?  I wanted to share this because I think we are over-immunizing and we need to reconsider our timing.  Years ago, as a registered nurse, we were giving tetanus immunizations to humans as often as every year until it was discovered the damage that was being done.  Now, it is every 10 years.  Sometimes we need to review the literature and rethink things.  If anyone has any helpful suggestions for me, they would be gratefully accepted.
 
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jstie

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I am so sorry to hear your Dickens is going through this! (Love the name, by the way - is it literary or behavioral?)  It took our Pawnee over three weeks to finally break her temperature, and then we tapered the steroids / pain meds over another 10 days or so, so it was a long haul.  One thing is different, though - Pawnee consistently ran a significant fever for the first three weeks, and you say Dickens has not had a fever.  Pawnee also limped and moved as though very sore, and my vet thought it was the fever that made her so achy and uncomfortable.  The fluids really helped with the fever, and we also gave her buprenorphine, a pain-killer (first injections, then oral liquid), to give her more comfort.  Would Dickens let you give him subcu fluids at home?  Just that might make him feel better.  It gets to be a vicious cycle: they feel ill, won't eat, get dehydrated, feel worse, won't eat...etc.  If this is the same kind of vaccine reaction, it may just be he's taking a bit longer to recover as a more sensitive breed.  (Pawnee is a big, hearty, tough DSH, and it was really hard on her anyway!)  Sounds like you're doing everything you can, and I guess all you can do is wait for this raging immune overreaction to subside, with loads of love, care, and whatever your vet prescribes.  Good luck - do keep us posted!  I hope your vet will also report this to the vaccine manufacturer.  And yes, I will NEVER stack vaccines the same day again, and Pawnee will never be vaccinated for FVRCP again EVER! 

Julie and Pawnee
 

theresag556

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I have a feeling my cat may be affected by this. She's a very healthy 1 year old that runs on rocket fuel and she has big eyes like saucers. She constantly harasses our 8 year old at all hours of the day. She got her 1 year boosters and rabies on June 22. On June 30, I noticed her starting to act lethargic but still eating and drinking and using the litter box. Took her to the vet and she had a temp of 105.2. They gave her an antibiotic, painkiller and sub q fluids. Took her back the next day and fever was down to 103.5. Left her there over 4th of July weekend and fever broke and stayed normal after they took her off IV fluid. Her temp is still good and she's eating normally and drinking but still lethargic. They've run blood tests twice, urinalysis and ultrasound and all come back normal. She's still eating and drinking and her temp is normal since Sunday afternoon but she is still lethargic. I've spent $1K already and still don't have any answers. I'll be taking her to a specialist.
 
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jstie

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Poor girl!  This sounds a lot like what our Pawnee went through (I'm the original poster on this thread).  It took her almost exactly a month to truly shake it, with a lot of supportive care (iv and subcu fluids, steroids (pred), and pain meds), and I believe an appetite stimulant (mirtazepine) to help her keep eating.  The fever would come and go - fluids would bring it down and she'd feel so much better, eat, etc., and then spike again.  My vet is convinced it was a vaccine reaction, and the manufacturer's website states right on the main page that 1% of cats can have this reaction, beginning 7-21 days after the immunization, and continuing as long as 30 days (https://www.zoetisus.com/products/cats/felocell-4.aspx).   If your cat got this vaccine, PLEASE ask your vet to report your kitty's illness to the company!   Be patient, and lots of supportive care is about all you can do till her system settles down.  Good luck - do keep us posted on how she's doing!

Julie (and Pawnee)
 
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