Firstly, Congratulations on your new adopted puppy! You have a heart of gold ! Secondly, I’m sure by now you might have discovered bringing home a puppy is no small task. Suddenly there’s this sweet little bundle of fuzz who depends on you for a loving home, good food, adequate exercise, gentle training, lots of toys & attention, and a lot of trips to the vet. Like babies, puppies also need vaccines and boosters. The puppy shots are vital for your new fur baby, especially throughout her first year. For this, you must be aware of the puppy vaccinations schedule.
In today’s blog post, you’ll figure out everything about vaccinations for your little ball of energy.
You’ll have a clear idea of the importance of vaccines, which vaccines are considered core for your puppy’s health, which vaccines are optional, and when to initiate the puppy vaccinations schedule.
What are puppy vaccines?
As parents immunize their kids with vaccinations to protect them from potentially deadly diseases, dogs also require vaccines from puppyhood.
There are many disease-causing agents in the environment which can harm your puppy when she comes in contact with other dogs/animals/people outside the house, or even when she is 100% indoors.
Yes, some hardy viruses can be carried inside your home on inanimate objects like clothes or shoes, or unwanted visitors like rodents.
Because the transmission of some viruses doesn’t require direct contact with another dog or animal, your all-indoor puppy can get infected if she is not duly vaccinated.
However, these infectious diseases are preventable, and puppy vaccinations play a vital role to jumpstart your puppy’s immune system.
Why is vaccination important for your puppy?
As soon as a puppy is separated from its mother, it starts losing its bacteria-fighting antibodies that was receiving from its mother’s milk, and needs to start making its own. This is why it’s so important to start vaccinations right away.
Besides this, a puppy starts developing stress post weaning. This stress weakens the puppy’s immunity.
That fidgety little tiny tot needs protection from disease-causing viruses ASAP.
Viruses are basically like hijackers. They invade your dog’s normal cells, and use them to multiple and produce other viruses like themselves.
What’s worse, puppies are more vulnerable to these viruses. So, the last thing you want to see is your little ball of energy falling sick.
More importantly, these vaccinations not only protect a puppy from life-threatening diseases, but they also protect people and other dogs around the puppy.
Some infectious diseases like rabies are known to spread from animals to humans. So, when your puppy is vaccinated, she is protected against certain diseases and so are you!
What are the common diseases in puppies?
When puppies fall sick, it comes on quicker, and it takes them longer to get well as compared to adult dogs. Therefore, it is important to know the common puppy diseases and their symptoms.
There are a few common puppy diseases that may attack your little new friend if she has not been vaccinated, or not vaccinated completely.
- Canine Parvovirus – Pravo is a highly contagious canine illness, and puppies aged between 12-weeks to 3 years are at a higher risk. It is transmitted from an infected dog, or dog faeces. A bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and low appetite are common symptoms of a puppy with parvovirus.
- Canine Distemper – It is devastating if a puppy gets distemper. Though a puppy with distemper can be cured, but even after recovery it may suffer permanent neurological damage.
- Canine Hepatitis – Adenovirus causes infectious hepatitis (jaundice) in puppies. Often the adenovirus vaccine is given with the canine distemper vaccine, though it is recommended to ask your vet about canine adenovirus type-1 and canine adenovirus type-2.
- Kennel Cough – The airborne parainfluenza viruses causes a deep, productive cough, fever, lethargy, and even pneumonia in puppies if left untreated.
- Leptospirosis – Leptospirosis has flu-like symptoms which affects both, puppies and humans. This bacterial infection is caused due to consuming water which has been contaminated with infected urine, and sometimes due to direct contact with wild rats.
- Canine Coronavirus – The Canine Coronavirus, also known as CCov is a highly infectious disease that affects puppies. The CCov is not the same virus like COVID-19 which causes respiratory issues in humans. Instead, the canine coronavirus causes gastrointestinal problems in puppies after it has been infected with fecal matter, contaminated food, or direct contact with an infected dog.
- Heartworms – Though there is no vaccine for heartworms, it is preventable with a vet recommended regular medication. When your puppy is around 12-to-16 weeks, discuss with your vet about scheduling a heartworm preventive regime.
- Bordetella – This highly infectious disease causes fits of severe coughing, vomiting, and in some cases, seizures and death. The bacterium ‘Bordetella Bronchiseptica’ is the main reason of Kennel Cough in canines.
- Lyme Disease – Lyme disease is a contagious disease transmitted via ticks. An infected puppy often starts limping, his lymph nodes tend to swell, develops a fever, and loses his appetite.
- Rabies – Rabies is a preventable viral disease that attacks the central nervous system of both, dogs and humans. The rabies virus causes anxiety, hallucinations, excessive drooling, paralysis, and death. It is most often transmitted through the bite or saliva of a rabid animal.
Though these diseases and infections can result in death, they are preventable. Your puppy can be safe only if she is vaccinated accurately and timely as per the puppy vaccinations schedule.
What are the core vaccines?
Core vaccines are mandatory vaccines, and are recommended for protection against severe cases. These vaccines are considered vital for all puppies based on risk of exposure, severity of disease, or transmissibility to other dogs and/or humans.
The following vaccinations are usually considered to be core vaccines:
- Canine Parvovirus
- Canine Distemper
- Canine Hepatitis (Adenovirus)
What are the optional vaccines?
Although vaccines are crucial to the overall health and wellness of your pupper, she doesn’t need to be vaccinated against every dog disease.
Some vaccinations are optional, and should only be administered depending upon factors like your puppy’s exact age, previous medical history, environment, travel habits, and lifestyle.
These optional vaccines are non-core, and are typically limited to areas where a specific disease is prevalent.
Therefore, it is very important for you to discuss the vaccinations needed for your fur baby with a local vet who is aware of the various dog diseases rampant in the region.
Some non-core vaccines for puppies include –
- Canine Coronavirus
- Lyme Disease
Though these optional vaccines are not considered core for puppies, they are very important for puppies who may be exposed to these infectious diseases.
When to start puppy vaccination?
It goes without saying that a puppy’s vaccination must start as soon as you get the puppy.
As a rule, a puppy’s vaccination begins when the puppy is 6 and 8 weeks old, which is when are almost weaned. But this is just the first step, as puppy shots are given in a series of doses.
After the very first dose, a puppy will receive shots every three weeks until it is approximately 4 months old, which is when it will receive the final round.
Generally, if the puppy’s mother has a healthy immune system, it will most likely receive antibodies in the mother’s milk while breastfeeding.
But, as soon as a puppy switches from its mother’s milk to a puppy diet, vaccinations must begin.
Puppy vaccinations schedule
The recommended puppy vaccinations schedule is as follows:
PUPPY VACCINATIONS SCHEDULE
|DHLPP [Distemper, Hepatitis (Adenovirus), Leptospirosis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza||6 – 8 weeks||9 – 11 weeks||12 – 14 weeks||16 – 17 weeks||12 months|
|Bordetella||14 weeks||–||–||–||6 months|
|Lyme Disease||14 weeks||17 weeks||–||–||12 months|
|Canine Coronavirus||14 weeks||–||–||–||12 months|
|Canine Influenza (H3N2 & H3N8)||14 weeks||–||–||–||12 months|
|Rabies||16 weeks*||12 – 36 months*|
It is important to stay updated with your puppy’s vaccinations schedule. Puppy vaccinations have been medically proven to combat many preventable diseases and illnesses that can occur without proper immunizations.
Validity of the Vaccines
- DHPP – 3 years
- Rabies – 3 years
- Leptospirosis – 1 year
- Canine Influenza – 1 year
- Lyme Disease – 1 year
- Bordetella (Kennel Cough) – 1 year
- Canine Coronavirus – 1 year
Side effects of vaccines
The advantages of vaccinations far outweigh any risks, and it is rare to see any adverse reaction in puppies after the shots.
However, as with any medication, puppy vaccinations can trigger some side effects with these mild to serious symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Facial swelling
- Pain or swelling around the injection site
- Collapse, difficulty breathing, and seizures (anaphylactic shock)
It is recommended that you have your puppy inoculated at a time when you can monitor her after the vaccination. If you do find anything serious, please do contact your veterinarian immediately.
Puppies carry intestinal parasites at the time of their birth. For this reason, you may want to discuss with your vet – the importance of deworming your pooch prior to setting up the puppy vaccinations schedule.
It is vital to deworm your pup one week before the first vaccination to get maximum immunization and enough time to take precautionary measures.
Basically, deworming prior to vaccinations ensures a full interior and exterior dis-infestation of your beloved pet.
As soon as you get your puppy home, you will start making some beneficial decisions for her care – ‘vaccination’ being the best of all.
Now that you know all about the puppy vaccinations schedule, speak with your local veterinarian to set up one that’s right for your puppy.
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