Immune modulation following immunization with polyvalent vaccines in dogs

Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2003 Aug 15;94(3-4):113-21. doi: 10.1016/s0165-2427(03)00086-2.


A decline in T-cell-mediated immunity and transient state of immunosuppression after immunization has been reported in dogs. Nevertheless, dogs are still routinely vaccinated with polyvalent live vaccines and severe disease does not generally occur. In order to investigate these effects on the canine immune system and to elucidate possible mechanisms we determined the following immune parameters in the blood of 33 clinically sound German shepherd dogs before and after standard vaccination with a polyvalent vaccine against distemper, parvovirus, viral hepatitis, leptospirosis, kennel cough and rabies: white and differential blood cell count, the serum concentrations and/or activities of IL-1, IL-2, IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha, neopterin and IgG, natural killer (NK) cell activity, bactericidal activity and complement hemolytic activity, lymphocyte proliferation test (LPT) and nitroblue tetrazolium test (NBT). Our major findings were that significant postvaccinal decreases in T-cell mitogenic response to PHA and in neutrophil function and neopterin serum concentration were accompanied by simultaneous increase in plasma IgG and hemolytic complement activity. This suggests a transient shift in the balance between cell-mediated and humoral (T(H)1/T(H)2) immunity rather than immunosuppression. These results do not imply that dogs should not receive live vaccines, as the response to vaccines just seems to create a state of altered homeostasis when immunization elicits protection by humoral and cell-mediated immunity. However, these recognized compromises of immune function should be considered and vaccines still be applied only in healthy animals and strictly according to the rules and regulations given by the manufacturer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Complement System Proteins / immunology
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Dog Diseases / immunology
  • Dog Diseases / prevention & control
  • Dogs / immunology*
  • Immunization / veterinary*
  • Leukocyte Count / veterinary
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / immunology
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / therapeutic use
  • Vaccines, Combined / immunology*
  • Vaccines, Combined / therapeutic use
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology*
  • Viral Vaccines / therapeutic use


  • Cytokines
  • Vaccines, Attenuated
  • Vaccines, Combined
  • Viral Vaccines
  • Complement System Proteins