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I recently had my cats updated on their rabies vaccinations, and one of them started puking in the morning afterwards. I've caught that it happens after I feed him, so it's almost as if the vaccination is giving him an upset stomach.

Since it's been 4 days since the vaccinations, my wife called the vet to ask about it, and they gave the generic response to bring him in if it keeps happening.

I'm used to doctors saying what the adverse reactions to vaccinations are going to be before giving the vaccination (or at least while giving them). Now I'm realizing the vet never said anything about any adverse reactions to the rabies vaccine as she gave it to my cats. So I guess I only expected that the area where the vaccine was injected would be sore for the day after, since that's usually the only side effect I'm warned about from my vaccinations.

What are the side-effects that rabies vaccine can have, and how long are they generally supposed to last?

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According to the American Veterinarian Medical Association, the following side effects are common after a rabies vaccine. If they persist longer than 2 days or cause significant discomfort then go see your vet, otherwise don't worry about it.

  • Discomfort and local swelling at the vaccination site
  • Mild fever
  • Decreased appetite and activity
  • Sneezing, mild coughing, "snotty nose" or other respiratory signs may occur 2-5 days after your pet receives an intranasal vaccine

They also note that a firm lump may develop at an injection site. If it does not disappear after 3 weeks you should visit your veterinarian.

The following symptoms are rare, and the AVMA states that these

reactions can be life-threatening and are medical emergencies. Seek veterinary care immediately if any of these signs develop:

  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Itchy skin that may seem bumpy ("hives")
  • Swelling of the muzzle and around the face, neck, or eyes
  • Severe coughing or difficulty breathing
  • Collapse

The AVMA's information also matches the guidelines given by Cornell's Veterinary College.

In your particular case, puking after a meal doesn't really qualify as "persistent vomiting", but if the behavior has been going on for 4 days (and wasn't present before the vaccination) I would take your cat to the vet. It may not be related to the vaccination, but that's a long time to be puking every meal.

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