There is a lot more to taking care of your puppy then just buying them toys and treats, and giving them lots of cuddles. I’m sure you already knew that…
Another big part to make sure your puppy lives a longer and happier life is to make sure that they get all their vaccinations as well. When you adopt your pup or bring them home from a breeder it is important to find out what shots they have had and when they have had them so that you can continue the vaccination schedule when you get your puppy home.
The first set of shots usually happen between 6-8 weeks old, then you will have some at 9-11 weeks, 12-14 weeks, 16-17 weeks, and then 12months old, so really it is approximately every 2-4 weeks until they are about 17 weeks old. This may seem like a lot, and very inconvenient.. And yes I agree with you it is a lot ot keep track of, but honestly it is so important to make sure you protect your dog from many of the viruses these vaccines protect them from. Some of the viruses are deadly and others can make your pup very ill. Getting them vaccinated is the first line of defense as they grow up into an active member in your family.
If you have a puppy that was adopted and has no vaccination records your vet may suggest to start the process from scratch to be sure they have everything they need to protect themselves. If you have any further concerns your vet is the best source for treatments and action plans.
The best decisions are educated ones, let’s look at some of the viruses and illnesses you are protecting your puppy against when you get them vaccinated. I will list them alphabetically so it is easier to follow along with;
Bordetella – This bacteria is the basic cause of kennel cough. It causes severe fits of coughing, vomiting, whooping, and in some cases seizures and death. This bacterium is highly communicable. For this vaccine you have the choice between an injectable or spray version.
Canine Distemper – This is a serious and dangerous disease that spreads from animal to animal through airborne exposure. It affects many animals other than dogs. This very contagious disease is caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory, GI and nervous system of the animal. Along with the spread by airborne, it can also be contracted from food and water dishes that the infected animal was in contact with. Distemper has a nasty set of symptoms, it causes vomiting, diarrhea, discharge from the eyes and nose, fever, coughing, twitching, seizures, paralysis and often death.
Unfortunately there is no cure for distemper. The infected animal can can shed the virus for months. The treatment of this disease is supportive care to try and support the immune system to fight off a secondary disease and many of the symptoms of distemper. The hope of these treatments if the dog survives the illness is also to boost the immune system enough that the dog may able to fight it off.
Canine Hepatitis – another viral and highly contagious disease, this one affects the liver, kidneys, spleen lungs and the eyes. This is another disease with no cure, however doctors can treat the symptoms. It is not the same as hepatitis that humans get. Dogs can overcome the more mild version of the virus, but the more severe one can kill them.
symptoms include slight fever, congestion and vomiting, jaundice, stomach enlargement and pain around the liver. As mentioned, there is not cure for the disease, but if your dog does get this disease there are treatments for the systems.
Canine Parainfluenza – this is another virus that contribute to kennel cough
Heartworm – heartworm prevention is something all pet parents hear abut from there vet all the time. It is one of those things that many dog owners forget to follow upon or stay consistent with. It is important to know there is no vaccine for this infection however there is prevention from regular medicine.
Just as the name is descriptive, these worms grow in the right side of the heart and travel through the arteries sometimes even effecting the liver and kidneys. These worms can grow up to 14″long and id they grow in clumps can block or damage the organs.
This disease is transmitted by mosquitos, in the early stages symptoms start mild, your dog may seem lethargic, have a lower appetite, may have a cough, and tires more easily after minimal exercise. If you are concerned about your dog having heart worm, you can have your vet conduct a blood test to see if it is in fact infected.
Kennel Cough – this disease is a result of inflammation in the upper airways. It can be caused by a number of different bacterial and viral infections. Usually the disease is mild and cause spouts of harsh and dry coughing. A more sever for can cause vomiting gagging and loss of appetite. In rare cases it can be deadly. Kennel cough spreads easily between dogs in close quarters which is why is can pass very quickly through a kennel. You can talk to your vet about different forms of treatment for this.
Leptospirosis – This is a disease caused by bacteria, and unlike most others, some dogs can go without showing any symptoms. It is found in soils and water, and it is one of those diseases that can be spread from animals to humans. Antibiotics are found effective for this and the sooner they are given the better. When and if symptoms of this disease do appear it can cause fever, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, sever lethargy, weakness, loss of appetite, stiffness, muscle pain, infertility, and kidney failure.
Lyme Disease – This is an infection cause by a tick, and is transmitted by a tick. It does not have the symptoms of a human that may be suffering from the disease. An infected dog will often start to limp, their temperature will rise and they will loose their appetite. The disease among other things can affect his heart, kidney and joints, and if left untreated can lead to neurological disorders. antibiotics has shown to be very succceful however relapses months and even years later can occur.
Parvovirus – also known as Parvo is a disease that affects all dogs, and puppies that are un-vaccinated and under four months are at the highest risk for contracting this virus. It is a very contagious virus that attacks the GI system and creates symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, fever and sometimes sevier bloody diarrhea. Sevier dehydration can come on quickly and can kill the dog within 48-72 hours, swift treatment from your vet will be needed and is crucial to their survival. There is no cure, but there is treatment for the symptoms that will also support the immune system helping the dog beat the virus.
Rabies – this is one of those diseases we usually hear about in wild animals, however it can affect your dig if it is bitten by an animal that is infected by rabies. An animal that is infected with have the symptoms of headaches, anxiety, hallucinations, excessive drooling, fear of water, paralysis and death. It is important that you seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible as time for the spread of the virus is crucial in the survival of your dog, if your not able to get your dog to a vet within the first few hours of it being bitten death is highly likely.
It is important to always consult with your vet about your vaccination options and make a plan that works for you. An educated pet parent makes for a happier and healthier puppy. Remember there is no cut and dry vaccination schedule, different dogs living in different areas will need different things, the guide we will be looking is merely a suggestion to get your thinking about what you may need for your puppy.
Lets look at the vaccination schedule you should consider….
Important to know, there are some vaccines that are given as a combo shot, like the DHLPPC or DHPP, which is to help protect your puppy against Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Parvo, and Corona.
The schedule below is from the AKC website for your reference..
The first year is the most expensive when it comes to vaccinating. After that you will have to do the yearly rabies shots and if you want there are yearly vaccines you can do as well. Some verts agree with doing them and other do not. This is another thing you can discuss with your vet and decide is vaccinating every year is something you want to do… But remember, the rabies is mandated by law and you have to get your dog vaccinated every year.
If you wonder about the exact cost I do find it really varies from vet to vet, If you are concerned before you bring a puppy home you can always reach out to your vet ahead of time and they can prepare you for the cost for the first years a vaccine.
I hope I was able to help you with your vaccine questions, if you have any more, just drop a comment below…