Whole Dog Journal's Blog May 17, 2011

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

Shots Fired: Professional veterinary associations call for a reduced canine vaccination protocol,” November 2006

Take the Titer Test Before Administering Vaccinations,” December 2002 

Comments (4)

It looks like there may be a new one. Has anyone used NeoVac-D?

Posted by: HANNAH S | August 25, 2012 7:27 PM    Report this comment

This is beyond infuriating. In spite of greater knowledge and intelligence, thanks to Dr Jean Dodds, the pharmaceutical companies are doing all they can to create situations that fly in the face of it. Could someone provide some info on the prevalence of distemper, the risks, how it is contracted etc? The DPv I suspect is for distemper and parvo? So, if we do titers, and only one is needed, we wind up giving for both...UNLESS we wait until both are below accepted levels...and then we are still doing exactly what we don't want to: 2 antigens at one time. Is there any sense of different manufacturers in Canada? Could we all start a petition to the drug company that was making the single antigen and encourage them to do it again?

Posted by: robin r | May 18, 2011 12:12 AM    Report this comment

Please please please, see a veterinarian for vaccinations. Even if you want to limit the number of vaccines that your dog is getting, a veterinary professional should administer them. Vaccines purchased from catalogs and feed stores are NOT protected by the vaccine manufacturer or distributor and they will NOT help you should your pet develop a vaccine site sarcoma, or have a serious vaccine reaction. The manufacturer does not guarantee their vaccines when they are not sold directly to a licensed veterinarian for use in a hospital or clinic setting. Also remember, dogs can develop reactions to vaccines at any age; even if they have had the vaccine ten times prior. Vaccine reactions can be mild or as serious as anaphylaxis. Are you prepared to deal with these potential side effects at home? Please, for the health and safety of your pet, get a veterinarian to vaccinate your pet.

Posted by: KellyJean83 | May 17, 2011 11:52 PM    Report this comment

I have always bought Progard DPv. Which while not single antigen is only a two antigen. However Intervet (the makers of Progard) were bought out and they are being melded into the current line. ONLY 5 of the Progard/Continuum (Contiuum is exactly the same as Progard but with a 3 year label) products will still be made. The Progard DPv name will be changed to Nobivac(R) Puppy-DPv. They will still make a single antigen parvo (Nobivac(R) Canine 3-Pv formerlly Contiuum P) but not distemper only thus the DPv is now the only choice

Posted by: rottlady | May 17, 2011 2:32 PM    Report this comment

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