(Jan Rasmusen in Vaccine Articles and News - Dogs Naturally Magazine)
Combination Shots for Dogs
Whombo combos, mumbo jumbos: that’s what veterinarians who understand immunology call combination shots. Unlike a vaccine such as rabies, which contains a single virus, combination vaccines contain multiple “modified live” viruses mixed with various bacteria. Think of them as toxic soups, biochemical wolves in sheep’s clothing. When your vet sends out reminders to bring your dog “up to date on shots,” expect the whombo combo. Beware the wolf.
You’ve probably seen combo shots listed on your vet bill as DHLPP, DHLPPC, DA2LPPC, 5-Way, 6-Way, 7-Way, 7 in 1 or the like. After you learn more about them, you won’t want to see them on a bill again.
Why would your vet use combination shots?
Profit and convenience are the big selling points. Vets in large corporate practices, even those who don’t like combo shots, may be under orders to use them.
I suspect some vets don’t realize (or want to believe) how dangerous these weapons of over-vaccination can be. Pharmaceutical reps, frequent visitors to veterinary clinics, promote the shot’s many benefits for the vets while minimizing potential risks for pets. Adverse reaction reporting is voluntary and rare. The 2007 World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Vaccine Guidelines reports (regarding all vaccines) there is: “gross under-reporting of vaccine-associated adverse events which impedes knowledge of the ongoing safety of these products.” Unless a vet is an avid veterinary journal reader, he/she may be stuck in the mindset of believing shots are safe and that if shots are good, more shots are better.
Proponents say that the combo saves Spot multiple needle pricks, and saves you and your vet time and money. True — but only if vaccinating against multiple diseases is really necessary … and only if expensive adverse reactions don’t occur.
Why should you avoid combination shots?
Immunity given by some vaccine components can last for years, even a lifetime, but other components may give immunity for less a year, yet they’re packaged together.
This is the pharmaceutical equivalent of packaging beef jerky and ice cream together. To keep immunity strong with short-duration vaccines, the long-duration vaccines have to be given again and again needlessly. This exposes your dog repeatedly, for no good reason, to adverse reactions which may include skin diseases, autoimmune disease, allergies and even death. Vets who still, for monetary reasons or ignorance, vaccinate annually find this practice quite convenient. Jab away. But vets who’ve switched to vaccinating every three years — which is still a misunderstanding of current guidelines recommending vaccinating “no more often” than every three years — aren’t using the short-duration vaccines often enough. Either they don’t believe the short-duration shots are really necessary (which is usually true) or they are being negligent and putting your dog at risk.