Dog Vaccine Types Compared

There are many types of dog vaccine available today. The main principle of vaccine production involves placing a viral or bacterial agent into a liquid solution, which can then be introduced into your dog's body. Your dog's immune system reacts against the agent, creating antibodies that protect him against future infection by the disease. The level and type of protection depend largely on the type of vaccine your dog receives.

Vaccine Components

Monovalent vaccines are vaccines that protect against only one disease. These vaccines contain only one type of viral or bacterial agent. Rabies vaccines are a good example of a monovalent vaccine.

Multivalent vaccines contain multiple viral or bacterial agents to protect against multiple diseases at one time. There are many different types of multivalent vaccines; Duramune produces a multivalent core vaccine that protects against rabies, parvo, canine distemper, and canine hepatitis simultaneously.

Modified Live Vaccines

Modified live vaccines are one popular type of vaccine used in healthy animals. They contain live virus particles that are altered, in a laboratory, so that they become attentuated, or incapable of causing infection. These attentuated viruses are capable of reproduction inside your dog's body. As the virus reproduces, your dog's immune system produces more and more antibodies. If your dog encounters a 'real' version of this virus, his immune response will be swift and strong.

Modified live vaccines usually work better than killed vaccines. They stimulate more antibody production, and the immunity they produce lasts longer. Modified live vaccines are often used with parvovirus and other diseases largely affecting puppies, because they are powerful enough to overpower maternal immunity.

Killed Vaccines

Killed vaccines are created in a laboratory by adding killed viral or bacterial agents to a liquid base. These viruses are dead and will not be able to reproduce inside your dog's body. As a result, immune response will be limited. Your dog may suffer an increased risk of drug reaction due to chemical agents added to the vaccine to increase immune response.

Recombinant Vaccines

Scientists make recombinant vaccines by breaking the genes of a virus or bacteria into pieces in a laboratory. They can isolate the genes that produce the best antibody response in an animal, and use only those genes to make a vaccine. The recombinant vaccine, therefore, does not contain the whole virus or bacteria, but only parts of it, and therefore causes no viral or bacterial reproduction within your dog's body.

Administering Vaccines

Just as vaccines are created in different ways, they are also administered in different ways. Currently, vaccines are either administered by injection with a syringe, or intranasally (through the nose).

Injectable vaccines are either intramuscular (injected into the muscle) or subcutaneous (injected under the skin). Some vaccines can be given either way; some must be given only one way. Dog rabies vaccines, for instance, must usually be given into the muscle. It's important not to get an injectable vaccine into your dog's eyes, ears, nose or mouth.

Intranasal vaccines are usually given to protect against respiratory infections. An intranasal dog vaccine provides protection faster than injectable vaccines. They should never be injected into your dog.