Let's Get This Straight: Do Vaccines Protect Your Dog From Disease?

Just recently a member posted a following question on Dog Health Issues FB group:

"Are puppies suppose to sleep a lot? Or is the puppy shot she got making her lethargic"?

Of course, puppies play a lot and sleep a lot. But this wasn't about that. With further inquiry, it turned out that this puppy was unusually sleepy specifically after it received its shots. It was not the way the pup usually acted.

Let's note here that mild lethargy, soreness or even mild fever are considered a potential normal reaction to vaccination. Substantial lethargy, though, can be a problem. Lilly's disastrous vaccine reaction started as lethargy.

When asked which vaccine the pup received it turned out she got her "9 in 1" shot

If you never heard of that don't feel bad, neither have I. But it surely sounds scary - 9 vaccines in one shot?? Yes, that's what this is.

This one shot combines Canine Distemper, Canine Adenovirus Type 2 (CAV-2), Canine Parainfluenza, and Canine Parvovirus Type 2b. The diluent contains killed antigens for Leptospira Canicola-Grippotyphosa-Icterohaemorrhagiae-Pomona bacterial extract. The CAV-2 fraction cross-protects against respiratory infection caused by infectious canine hepatitis (CAV-1).

Wow, everything and the kitchen sink.

Throwing all these things at the immune system at once?

When the owner asked the vet why they want to use this combo, she was told that they want the pup to be protected from everything all at once. Apparently, where she lives, they either give the combo or, when they give the vaccines separately, they give them all on the same day anyway.

"So the pup would be protected from everything all at once."
So the administration of a vaccine is an immediate and automatic protection, then, right? Wrong!

An administration of a vaccine doesn't protect anybody from anything, The immune system does.

Well, there is one exception and that is the rabies vaccine. While the vaccine itself doesn't automatically protect from rabies either, it does protect your dog from big trouble. Just recently a dog got euthanized after being bitten by a rabid skunk because of vaccination lapse and regulatory inflexibility.

So how is it with vaccines a protection from disease?

The purpose of a vaccine is to stimulate the immune system to arm itself to protect the body.

When your dog gets a vaccine, it is not like they get injected with ready-to-go soldiers.

It's like injecting it with a bunch of enemy carcasses. That's right. A vaccine carries either dead or disabled enemies, not soldiers. It is the immune system that has to build the army.

If you throw all these different enemies at it all at once, you can be looking at total mobilization and marshal law ... There can be chaos and there can be casualties.

Image Call Of Duty MW3

The immune system needs to build one army for each type of enemy.

Now you have it building nine different armies. That will take a toll on the body. You throw in with it some smoke bombs and firecrackers (the adjuvant). Now you have all the armies really wound up and trigger happy too. And because there are nine different enemies of different shapes and colors, civilian casualties are that much more likely. AND the immune system can run out of resource or miss an enemy or two and some armies might never get built.

It might be cheaper, it might be more convenient, but is it better for your dog?

Related articles:
Problems With Canine Over-Vaccination
Veterinarians And Vaccines: A Slow Learning Curve

Further reading:
Canine Vaccines: The Best Current Thinking
Dr. Jean Dodds' Recommended Vaccination Schedule