Viruses: Distemper Vaccine

Modified Live Vaccine (MLV) for Distemper:

There are many myths about the distemper vaccine, specifically that canine distemper virus is correlated to the  measles virus, and that for many years dogs have been inoculated with measles virus vaccine. In recent years, due to research in vaccine development, modified live vaccine (MLV) has emerged as the only effective and safe option for vaccinating dogs against canine distemper.

Modified live vaccine (MLV) is a type of vaccine which is attenuated with live particles of virus which are potentially non–virulent or which has no pathogenic (disease causing) ability. These types of canine distemper vaccines are prepared by incubating virus particles which are refined in a chicken’s embryo.

Mode of Action for Vaccine:

A positive and successful immunization by a modified live vaccine for canine distemper is correlated with maternal immunity. The newborn puppies are usually naturally immunized by maternal antibodies for a time period of 3 months for puppy distemper. The natural immunity of puppies starts declining after an age of 6 weeks, so an initial dose should be administered at the age of 6 weeks (1.5 Months) and administered Intramuscular (IM) or Subcutaneous (SC). Doses must be repeated after an interval of every 2 – 4 weeks (0.5 – 1 Months) until an age of 16 weeks (4 Months) is attained.

Commercial dog distemper vaccines are supplied with an adjuvant (Immunological preparation which enhances the effect of the vaccine and does not act by itself on the body as an antigen) mixed with the primary modified live vaccines (MLV), which are usually particles of measles virus or gentamycin (antibiotic complex). This combination of vaccine and adjuvant enhances the capability of vaccine and is more effective.

There are many varieties of modified live vaccine available.

Precautions for Distemper Vaccine:

  1. Do not freeze the vaccine or any part of it.
  2. Vaccine should be stored at 2 – 7 Degrees Centigrade or 35 – 40 Degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Vaccine preparation should be shaken well before use.
  4. Vaccine preparation should never be mixed with other vaccines or preparations.
  5. Unused contents & containers should be carefully disposed of.

Vaccine Side Effects:

  1. Some dogs may show mild fever and conjunctivitis (red eye), associated with the canine distemper vaccine, it is usually self resolving and for safety a dose of anti–pyretic (anti fever medication) is recommended.
  2. Distemper vaccine should not be used in diseased or parasitized dogs.
  3. Vaccine preparation containing gentamycin should not be administered to pregnant animal, as it may cause abortion.
  4. Modified live vaccine (MLV) can cause hypersensitivity or an inflammatory reaction in some dogs administered with a yearly dose. Anti-histamines and corticosteroids are often prescribed by dogs suffering from these conditions. 

Homeopathic Approach

The homeopathic approach to distemper treatment is to protect against distemper symptoms such as fever, diarrhea and respiratory distress. Vi-Pro Plus is made of herbal ingredients designed to support the immune system and help reduce fever.  Clinical support and additional information is available from the manufacturer.  As with all health related products, check with your veterinarian before use.