Your new, little puppy scampers playfully at your feet. He romps around in the grass giving you insurmountable joy. He is becoming an important part in your family’s life. To keep your puppy happy, healthy and disease-free you will need to give him the appropriate veterinarian health care.
When a puppy is first born he is protected by his mom’s antibodies from her blood and initial milk supply, known as colostrum. The first stage of your puppy’s maternal antibody protection is approximately 2 days. This window of protection will only include those viruses that the mother is protected against and works according to the level of antibodies in the pup’s bloodstream. There may still be a risk for infection if levels are not strong enough at that particular time. There is no rhyme or reason as to how high or low the levels may be even in different puppies of the same litter.
At six weeks of age most veterinarians will give the new puppy a combination vaccine with subsequent boosters given 3 weeks apart for sixteen weeks. This practice is done to ensure the most thorough protection for your puppy. It is recommended that the new puppy be vaccinated against rabies, canine adenovirus, distemper, Lyme disease, canine parvovirus-2, coronavirus and leptospirosis.
Distemper, parvovirus, rabies and hepatitis are classified as core vaccines and are highly effective in their intended outcomes in terms of prevention. Their length of protection is greater than one year with minimal risks to your pet. The noncore vaccinations include adenovirus-2, measles, Bordetella, Lyme disease, coronavirus and leptospirosis. Limited effectiveness is noted with these vaccinations with length of immunity and risk of side effects variable.
Your new puppy’s vaccine schedule should typically be as such:
o At five weeks of age your puppy should be given the parvovirus vaccination.
o At six weeks of age and again at nine weeks of age your puppy should be given a vaccine consisting of distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza, adenovirus, cough and hepatitis combination vaccine. This type of vaccine is known as a 5-way or combination vaccination. This vaccine should be administered without the leptospirosis included. If the coronavirus is a concern for your puppy, this should also be given at this time.
o Your 12-week old puppy should be given the rabies vaccination.
o Between 12 and 16 weeks your puppy should be given the combination vaccination with inclusion of the leptospirosis vaccine. Your puppy should also be given the coronavirus or Lyme disease vaccines if they are a concern. A booster of this and additionally, a rabies vaccination, should also be given per your veterinarians recommendations.
Even with the proper immunizations completed there is still the possibility of your pet contracting these infections. The reasons for this are based on your pet’s own bodily system and state of health of your animal. However, by making sure that your pet is immunized accordingly the chances of them contracting these infections are lowered dramatically. Consult your veterinarian for the preferred schedule of vaccination delivery and/or with any questions that you might have regarding your puppy’s health.