Is it safe to give a dog multiple vaccines at the same time?
Original Question: Is there any danger to my dog by giving him 3 vaccines at the same time? Bordatella, Rabies, Leptospirosis? Is it too much for his system to handle? - Debbie
Thanks for submitting your question.
I know a lot of people are wondering if it’s safe to give a dog multiple vaccines at the same time and it’s a great question. The answer to it has to do with what your dog is particularly sensitive to but combining vaccines can make a reaction more likely and more severe in some cases. Typically if a patient has a sensitivity to a vaccine product, they will react to that one vaccine alone. However, the body’s response to an agent can be increased if they have further sensitivities to an item in an additional vaccine product that is administered at the same time.
First, a little background. There are two general types of reactions that dogs can have to a vaccination. One is an immediate anaphylactic reaction and the other is a longer, delayed reaction called cell-mediated. In my 15 years of being a veterinarian, I have seen an anaphylactic reaction only once and when treated with simple medical principles it responded and resolved immediately. The delayed reaction is much more common and in those cases, if a patient received multiple vaccines that stimulated it, it is a challenge to identify which of those vaccines was either solely or mostly responsible for the reaction. I would also point out that most patients I saw for an annual physical would typically receive more than one vaccine at a time. Administering multiple vaccines is common practice and yet we still see that hypersensitivity reactions are still generally infrequent. For more information about this topic, I encourage you to watch our video, “Everything You Need to Know About Vaccine Reactions.”
So in general, it is common practice and considered safe until a specific reaction is experienced. If you want to be proactive and reduce the risk of vaccine reactions before even knowing if your dog is sensitive to them, there are a few things you can do:
- Ask your veterinarian about splitting up the vaccines. You could visit your veterinarian every 2 weeks to receive one vaccine at a time until all vaccines are given. By splitting them up you will reduce the chance of a cumulative effect of giving multiple vaccines and you will also create the opportunity to identify which vaccine creates a reaction in your dog since it would occur after the individual vaccine is administered.
- Speak to your veterinarian about your concern and discuss the pros and cons of administering an antihistamine prior to giving a vaccine. By pre-treating a patient with an antihistamine, it greatly reduces the risk of a reaction to a vaccine. In practice, I only employed this protocol in patients that were found to have experienced previous reactions to vaccines.
- Lastly, I encourage you to have a thorough conversation with your veterinarian about your pet’s individual vaccine program and carefully scrutinize the value of each vaccine that is recommended. For example, if you don’t board your dog or take him or her to a groomer, your dog is at lower risk for contracting Kennel Cough (Infectious Tracheobronchitis) and you could consider removing that vaccine from your dog’s protocol. Review each vaccine and identify the risk of your pet’s exposure to that disease and the need for protection against it.
I hope this helps and I wish you the best.
Dr. Clayton Greenway
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