Single-Antigen Vaccines, Not Single-Dose
Posted at 12:51PM - Comments: (4)
This is a follow-up to an issue we discussed via the Letters to the Editor section of the May issue (“Bad news for dog owners looking for single-antigen vaccines”). A subscriber had written us out of concern that his veterinarian no longer offered distemper-only vaccines. We looked into the matter and learned that in fact, Schering-Plough, the last veterinary vaccine company that still made a distemper-only vaccine, had recently ceased production of the vaccine. It’s just not available anymore.
We’ve had a number of readers send us letters or email messages giving us information about the vaccines they use for their dogs. Many buy their dogs’ vaccines from mail-order catalogs or internet veterinary pharmacies and administer the vaccines themselves. Here is an excerpt from one such letter:
“I've been inoculating my dogs (yearly booster shots) for longer than I can remember. I get my single dose vaccines from [XX]. You can get a [XX name] (including) Canine Distemper, Adenovirus Type 2, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus Vaccine Modified Live Virus, Leptospira Canicole, Icterohaemorrhagiae Bacterin - single dose 1ml dose w/syringe and needle for $4.89.”
I apologize if the issue we discussed in the May issue was less than clear. Our concern is not the ability to purchase a vaccine for one dog – a “single dose.” What we were lamenting was the new lack of availability to purchase a vaccine for distemper only – one that contained the distemper antigen and no other disease antigens.
To be even more clear: We deplore the widespread use of what are sometimes referred to as “whombo combo” vaccines – the combination of a number of disease antigens all packed into one “shot.” Dogs don’t need to be vaccinated every year in order to be protected from disease; most vaccines stimulate an immune response in dogs that will last many years. And many of the disease antigens that are combined and presented to dog owners as our “only option” for protecting our dogs are ineffective and/or unnecessary. Decades ago, veterinarians thought of vaccines as something that “couldn’t possibly hurt, and will probably help.” Today, we know that immunology is more complex that previously understood, and that overvaccination can cause health problems.
Please see the following articles for more information on vaccinations:
“Dog Vaccination Information,” August 2008
“Take the Titer Test Before Administering Vaccinations,” December 2002