Dog Training Blog

Vaccines Without Mercury

Dr. Renee,
Is there a DHLPP vaccine without mercury ?
Hi Marvin,
I did a bit of research and found that mercury isn’t used much in vaccines any more.  It can be hidden in vaccines as “merthiolate,” but those are usually the older-type vaccines.  The product “thimerosal”, while technically a mercury product, is actually ethyl mercury.  The problem with mercury found in vaccines was due to the methyl mercury form.  There has been absolutely no solid scientific evidence presented about any ill effects of ethyl mercury (thimerosal).
That being said, if a vaccine is a recombinant or Modified Live Virus type, it should not have ANY form of this type of preservative that could inactivate the antigens.  Only Killed vaccines contain these preservatives.
At our hospital, the DHPP vaccine from BI (Boehringer Ingelheim) named Duramune Max 5 is a Modified Live Virus vaccine product and has only gentamicin (an antibiotic) as the only preservative.  Unfortunately, there is no leptosporosis component to this vaccine.  The Duramune Max 5/4L (with Leptospirosis) has the ethyl mercury (thimerosal) preservative.  Because leptospirosis can be a deadly disease (we lost a very sweet, 8 year old Irish Water Spaniel to Lepto last month) we highly recommend vaccinating at risk dogs (which in our area are MOST dogs) for lepto.
We understand the concern for unnecessary additives in our vaccines-and appreciate owners wanting to do the best for their pets as they would for their human children.  That is why we discuss each pet’s life style and risk factors before making recommendations for a vaccine protocol for that individual pet.

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