Dog Skin Rash and Lump after Vaccination - Is it Normal?

A skin lump coming up after a vaccination injection can be completely normal. There are other causes that you need to know about however. As well as the steps to take if your dog is showing any sign of a vaccine reaction.

Dog skin rash and lump after vaccination: is it normal?

We bought our puppy his first set of vaccines but noticed he had a bump on the back of his neck a week later so we contacted the person that sold us the puppy and he told us it was where he put the vaccine but we are wondering what to do? He said to put ice to reduce the swelling but we are scared! - Luis

Post-Injection Swelling

A small swelling after vaccination, or any injection, is completely normal. A lump can be present for a few days to a couple of weeks or so after an injection is given.

If your dog or cat is getting a lump immediately after any injection then you absolutely can put a cold compress on in for the first couple of days. That can help to reduce any swelling after this time. After two or three days, the cold compress is not going to have any benefit and you should switch to a warm compress. That will encourage blood flow to the area where it will bring all of the healing substances to that area to sort out that lump, encourage healing and to get rid of it.

Check out a previous answer where I discuss more about vaccine side effects, but lumps certainly are one thing that we do get not too irregularly.

a small swelling after vaccination, or any injection, is completely normal. A lump can be present for a few days to a couple of weeks

Other Causes of Swelling

Now, of course, it might not just be a vaccination side effect. It could be that this puppy is developing an abscess. It could be that a dirty needle was used or poor injection technique was used.

The swelling could also be another skin problem. It could be something like an insect bite, an allergy, a wound and it could even be cancer, although in a young puppy that is very, very unlikely.

This also raises one concern about potential issues with non-vet giving vaccines:

  • What is the individuals injection technique like?

  • How was that vaccine stored? 

  • Are they using clean needles or are they just reusing them on multiple puppies?

  • Do you actually have any proof that a vaccine has even been administered? 

I’m not suggesting that every puppy breeder is going to be dishonest like this, but these are all valid questions to ask.

Vet Vaccines and Health Checks

If you get the vaccines done by your vet, then these answers are going to be more reliable. There is going to be more of a record of the supply chain for that vaccine. They are going to be monitoring the fridge temperatures to make sure that the vaccines are actually still going to work. Your vet is going to use a fresh needle every time. You are going to get someone who has given countless injections every day.

We are less likely to get things like abscesses and other problems.

Comprehensive Health Check

As well as  vaccination, your vet will also give a comprehensive health check to your puppy or kitten. This is always a good idea before purchase because you are going to want to know if there is a heart murmur, an umbilical hernia, or any other problems that you might want to consider before getting a puppy that might change your mind about whether that puppy is right for you and your family.

You are also going to get the best advice about what vaccines need to be administered to your puppy based on a comprehensive risk-benefit analysis.

How to Know if the Swelling is Harmless

If the lump is growing, if it's irritating this pup, or if it's been present for more than a couple of weeks, then an aspiration biopsy, an FNA, or fine needle aspirate may be in order. 

That is something that you should talk to your vet about. You should get them to check over this lump just to make sure that there is nothing else going on. Make sure that there is no antibiotics that they need or there is no other treatment that you should consider.

The above is a transcript taken from “The Dr Alex Answers Show”.

If you would like me to answer any question you have about your pet’s health, simply fill in this form and I’ll try and get you the information that you need. It’s that simple!