The 7 Types of Vaccines for Dogs

There are seven types of vaccines for dogs that can be used to prevent common dog viruses. Each type of vaccine can be used for one or more viruses. In any vaccine, a viral or bacterial agent is added to a liquid and then the dog either ingests or inhales the substance, or receives it through an injection. The dog's immune system has a chance to create antibodies to that particular illness, thus protecting them if the actual infection strikes. The type of vaccine refers to the level and type of the virus or bacteria that is incorporated, as well as the level and type of protection your dog will get. There are different manufacturing methods that ensure that the bacteria or virus won't harm the dog once it is ingested.

1. Monovalent Vaccines

These are vaccines that provide protection for one disease at a time. The rabies vaccine is a good example. Only the rabies viral agent is added to the liquid in this vaccine.

2. Multivalent Vaccines

In a multivalent vaccine, several bacterial or viral agents are added to the liquid the dog will ingest. Sometimes up to 8 or 9 diseases are addressed in one vaccine. There is usually a core vaccine, such as one called Duramune that protects against 4 of the most common dog viruses in one.

3. Modified Live Vaccines (MLV)

In these vaccines, live virus particles that are safe for the dog are used. The particles have been altered in a lab so that they are alive, but can't produce the disease. The viral agents will reproduce, however, once inside the animal. This helps trigger the animal's immune response without triggering an outbreak of the infection. One advantage to this type of vaccine is that it stimulates the dog's antibodies much more quickly and in larger quantities.

4. Killed Vaccines

In this type of vaccine, the actual viruses or bacteria are killed and then put into the liquid. There's no way they can multiply within the pet's body. Thus, more of the particles are introduced in hopes of triggering the immune response. There are also added chemicals to help the process. The disadvantage of this can be an increased risk that the dog will develop an allergic response.

5. Recombinant Vaccines

Certain antigens on infectious organisms stimulate a greater antibody response than others. In a recombinant vaccine, a laboratory technician breaks up the genes of the virus and isolates the parts that will produce the best immune response. In this vaccine, the whole virus is not present, which creates safety for the animal.

6. Injectable Vaccines

Some vaccines are injected into the dog's muscle or under his skin. The first is called intramuscular and the second subcutaneous. Some vaccines can be given either way, but the rabies vaccine, for example, has to be given intramuscularly. In any injectable vaccine, the eyes, nose and mouth must be avoided.

7. Intranasal Vaccines

Vaccines designed to protect against diseases of the respiratory system are often given in this manner. They are made into a liquid that can be dropped or squirted into the dog's nose. They go right into the bloodstream and can provide protection more quickly than an injectable vaccine. An intranasal vaccine should never be injected. They are often less likely to incite an allergic reaction.