Vaccinations needed by a puppy
Newborn puppies start receiving disease fighting antibodies straight from mother’s milk as soon as they are born but the advantage this provides to their immune system dissipates after the first few weeks. To help protect your puppy long after they have left their mother, vaccinations are needed. Puppy vaccinations are essentially modified strains of diseases used to stimulate the puppy’s immune system into producing its own antibodies.
While there is some controversy over vaccinations and their benefits versus risks, the practice is backed by years of scientific research which most experts agree with. You will also find it difficult to enter your pet into kennels if you cannot provide proof of vaccinations. This can make it more challenging to find care for your pet should you go on holiday or require emergency accommodation.
Every dog from Beagliers to Groodles should receive a round of core vaccinations to prevent the spread of a range of common and widespread life threatening illnesses. These core vaccinations include vaccination against Canine Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus. Vaccination against 2 organisms that cause kennel cough will also be administered after 10 weeks of age. In some areas it may also be required to administer other non-core vaccines such as for rabies in many parts of the world. Your vet will be able to advise you on whether these or any other vaccinations are required in the area you live in.
Puppy vaccinations start early on in your puppy’s life as the first round is usually administered at 6 to 8 weeks of age. At this age the vaccinations are temporary in order to get the animal safely through this period of its life. Once the pup reaches 10 – 12 weeks they receive booster a shot to further stimulate their immune system, and then at 14 – 16 weeks they receive their final vaccination to usher them safely into their adult life. Booster shots are then required at 12 month or 24 month intervals for the remainder of a dog’s life, with many vets now recommending a slightly less stringent program of once every 3 years.
Your puppy’s first visit to the vet will involve a discussion about the schedule of vaccinations and what each vaccination protects against. The vet will also perform a general examination to determine the overall health of the animal. While some animals will feel a pinch, or a little sting during the vaccination there is no cause for alarm as it is over and forgotten about in an instant.
The vaccine will not give your puppy instant immunity as this won’t occur until after 5 or 10 days. As there is no definitive way to determine if your puppy still has maternal antibodies from his mother’s milk booster shots are required to ensure a vaccines effectiveness. Full immunity is not certain until about 4 months of age after all booster shots have been administered, so you should delay visits to dog parks, or anywhere else where he could be exposed to contagious diseases during this time.
Vaccines do come with risks, however small, and the vast majority of experts say the benefits far outweigh the risks. A small number of animals may develop side effects such as pain and swelling at the injection site, lethargy, or fever. In an even smaller number of cases there may be allergic reactions. See your vet if you notice hives, difficulty breathing, or facial swelling, as allergic reactions must not be ignored.