Limping and lethargic 4-5 days after distemper shot?

catlover1717

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I have a kitten around 8-9 weeks old that received his first distemper shot on the afternoon of 1/24. Previously he had been given a clean bill of health (save for mild roundworms) at his very first appointment - he received the shot a few weeks after his initial checkup.

This morning I noticed he was limping slightly - he’s favoring his front left leg. He ate his breakfast well and was playing, and as it’s Sunday I resolved to just keep an eye on him and call the vet tomorrow. I was hoping he had simply pulled something while fighting his sister to the death. His favorite hobby.

As the day went on however he slept a lot. Normally he’s an absolute crazy monster in-between naps (like most kittens), but today he slept way more than usual. I was hoping after all that rest he’d be feeling a little more upbeat this evening but he didn’t want his dinner. And when his sister tried to engage him in some play he growled his displeasure. He’s clearly not comfortable.

I have my alarm set so I can call the vet the instant they open. But has anyone had a similar experience with their cat? Could be vaccine related maybe, could be a total coincidence. I’ve been doing (too much) Googling and reading about everything from limping calici to strains and sprains.
 

di and bob

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Some cats do have a reaction to the vaccinations, lethargic and sleeping for a few days. my Casper was that way, anytime they gave him a vaccination they administered Benadryl 20 minutes before, and he was much better. It may have been given to relieve the side effects, like nausea. Benadryl sedates too, so it will not help with that. Get some lickable treats such as Delectable Lickables in the stew flavors, it often tempts sick cats to eat.
I would definitely let the vet know and ask them to note it in his chart. the limping may be he was slightly sedated and jumped from somewhere, landing wrong. if he is growling he is hurting. Give him a heat pad on low, to help, get a cat heat pad if you can, Watch him. if he gets worse call your vet.
 
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catlover1717

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He went in to the vet at 10AM today. He had a fever of 104 and was dehydrated. Ugh!!! So stressful. The vet gave him fluids, an antibiotic shot, and steroids to be given for 12 days total. Waiting for bloodwork results. She felt given that it was 4.5 to 5 days after the vaccine it was unlikely to be connected, but I’m still suspicious it was a delayed reaction. Otherwise it’s something viral. Thus far his sibling is fine and feisty as ever.
 

r-kins

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He went in to the vet at 10AM today. He had a fever of 104 and was dehydrated. Ugh!!! So stressful. The vet gave him fluids, an antibiotic shot, and steroids to be given for 12 days total. Waiting for bloodwork results. She felt given that it was 4.5 to 5 days after the vaccine it was unlikely to be connected, but I’m still suspicious it was a delayed reaction. Otherwise it’s something viral. Thus far his sibling is fine and feisty as ever.
Here's hoping he gets better and that his bloodwork is ok. He could have picked up something at the vet from germs left by another sick cat, too.

Mine were both lethargic the day following their vaccines but that was it.
 

Sarthur2

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I agree with the vet that it’s likely not vaccine-related. Vaccine reactions usually occur quickly and can last a few days.

I also agree that he may have contracted something at the vet’s office. It sounds like calici virus with the limping and fever. He is receiving supportive care, which should have him back to normal before too long. If it is calici, it’s contagious, so keep an eye on his sister.

Do keep us posted!
 
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catlover1717

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I agree with the vet that it’s likely not vaccine-related. Vaccine reactions usually occur quickly and can last a few days.

I also agree that he may have contracted something at the vet’s office. It sounds like calici virus with the limping and fever. He is receiving supportive care, which should have him back to normal before too long. If it is calici, it’s contagious, so keep an eye on his sister.

Do keep us posted!
That would be beyond terrible luck since he received his FVRCP vaccine at that appointment! Which of course is for the calici virus in addition to the other two. Definitely watching his sister. She’s absolutely bananas with energy today so zero concerns yet. Also eating normally unlike him.
 

cassieblunt

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He went in to the vet at 10AM today. He had a fever of 104 and was dehydrated. Ugh!!! So stressful. The vet gave him fluids, an antibiotic shot, and steroids to be given for 12 days total. Waiting for bloodwork results. She felt given that it was 4.5 to 5 days after the vaccine it was unlikely to be connected, but I’m still suspicious it was a delayed reaction. Otherwise it’s something viral. Thus far his sibling is fine and feisty as ever.
I'm so sorry to hear about your kitten. I understand how problematic it must have been to notice a change in behavior and energy levels. Hopefully, the vet's treatment will help him start feeling better soon. Has there been any update since you took him to the vet? It could be beneficial to talk with your vet or get a second opinion if they haven't yet ruled out vaccine-related issues. I hope your kitten gets better soon!
 
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catlover1717

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I got him to eat one packet of Tiki Baby Thrive, which is a wet paste for kittens who are failing to thrive/need a high calorie boost. He wouldn’t touch the chicken baby food the vet recommended buying. Hasn’t had any water yet but he did receive IV fluids at the vet, and I just gave him his first dose of steroids. He may need more IV fluid tomorrow if he doesn’t drink on his own, poor little guy.
 

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There’s a medical term for this which I guarantee you’ll remember, it’s called ‘Fever of Unknown Origin’ which basically says it could be anything, and generally clears up quickly.
 

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I've had foster kittens suffering from this after being vaccinated. In fact we had a private name for it (in German, but at the moment I've forgotten it). When a cat is vaccinated and is not 100 % healthy (if in doubt postpone the shots for a year!) the reaction is often limping, fever and cat flu symptoms. If a kitten has suffered from a virus in the first few weeks of its life (and even when successfully treated) it is advisable to postpone the course of injections. For this reason vets do a general check before giving shots but they cannot check for earlier infections.

On the positive side, all the kittens in my care who had this problem survived. So good luck to you and your kitty.❤
 
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catlover1717

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He’s feeling a little better this morning although clearly still sore. Not out of the woods yet. But he purred when I pet him, batted at a toy, scratched his post, and followed his sister around before going back to bed. Also ate a little bit of wet food but not as much as I’d like.

I gave him a small amount of water via an old medicine syringe I had on hand and will be calling the vet to ask exactly how much I should be giving him “by force” if I don’t see him drinking yet on his own.
 
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catlover1717

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Do I need to be concerned he’ll get this ill after the second and third shots? I wish this was a one and done but it’s a series of three.
 

NekoM

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Do I need to be concerned he’ll get this ill after the second and third shots? I wish this was a one and done but it’s a series of three.
It’s something you’ll need to have a conversation with the vet about. To me this seemed a lot like a reaction that some people get from the ‘flu shot’. Vaccines are inactive viruses but can trick the immune system into thinking its active, so you develop all the symptoms of a real virus. Has his temperature started to come down?
 
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catlover1717

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He’s doing much much better now. Mind you he is still getting a daily steroid dose. But he’s eating, drinking, and terrorizing everyone in the house.

Shot #2 is later this month though so I am nervous. Will chat with vet.
 

NekoM

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He’s doing much much better now. Mind you he is still getting a daily steroid dose. But he’s eating, drinking, and terrorizing everyone in the house.

Shot #2 is later this month though so I am nervous. Will chat with vet.
That sounds like a win to me!
 
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