Puppies are very susceptible to contracting various serious and life-threatening diseases such as parvovirus or distemper. These are highly contagious and without specific treatment pathologies that can cause the death of entire litters.
Fortunately, we have a tool to combat them: vaccination. By establishing a correct vaccination schedule we protect our puppy against these diseases. Below we explain which vaccines are essential during their first months of life.
Index of contents
- 1 Diseases Preventing Puppy Vaccines
- 2 When should a puppy be vaccinated?
- 2.1 Puppy Vaccination Plan
- 3 Side effects of vaccines
- 4 Are puppy vaccinations mandatory?
Diseases Preventing Puppy Vaccines
Vaccines are made with different inactivated, killed, or modified pathogens so that they cannot trigger disease, but they do stimulate the immune system. Vaccines for the following diseases are available for puppies:
- Parvovirus : it is a viral disease characterized by the appearance of severe vomiting and bloody diarrhea. This condition causes severe dehydration that usually requires hospital admission.
- Distemper : it is a viral pathology that produces symptoms in various systems, such as the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems. To dogs that heal from distemper they may have sequelae for life.
- Leptospirosis : it is a bacterial disease that causes nonspecific symptoms that mainly damage the kidneys and the liver. It is a zoonosis, that is, this bacterium can also affect humans.
- Infectious hepatitis : It is a viral disease that, as its name indicates, affects the liver, but also the kidneys and blood vessels. It is highly contagious and dogs that do recover remain infective for months.
- Parainfluenza : it is a virus that is usually involved in kennel cough. It is spread very easily by contact between dogs or their accessories. It triggers the typical symptoms of this disease, such as cough.
- Coronavirus : has nothing to do with the new coronavirus that affects humans. It is an enteric virus, that is, it will trigger symptoms at the gastrointestinal level. In general, the picture that develops is mild, but it can be worrying in puppies.
- Rage : it is a fatal zoonosis that affects the nervous system, causing symptoms such as aggressiveness, seizures and, finally, death. There is no cure and, given the possibility of contagion to people, in many territories Rabies vaccination is mandatory.
- Kennel Cough : In addition to the parainfluenza vaccine, another is available against the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica, which is also implicated in kennel cough. The vaccine can be intranasal or injectable and is the one requested to stay in dog houses.
- Leishmaniasis : it is a parasitic disease transmitted by a mosquito. Humans can also be affected, hence the need to prevent it. There are several vaccines to administer from six months of life. They do not prevent the disease but they do prevent the proliferation of the parasite.
When should a puppy be vaccinated?
The vaccination schedule must be established by the veterinaryn. The conditions and characteristics of the dog must be taken into account. Usually, puppies are ready to receive their first shot at 6-8 weeks of age. Putting a vaccine earlier would not be effective because it would interfere with maternal antibodies.
They are the ones that the dog transmits to her puppies through colostrum and would neutralize the action of the vaccine. In other words, this would not be effective in failing to develop the immune response. In addition, before administering the vaccine, the dog must be internally dewormed. The vet will check you to make sure you are healthy.
Only then will you be able to receive the vaccine. Having parasites, being treated with certain drugs, such as corticosteroids or some antibiotics, suffering high levels of stress or some diseases also affect the response to the vaccine. Vaccines must be repeated periodically throughout the dog’s life.
Puppy Vaccination Plan
It will always be the vet who tells us when to vaccinate our puppy, this is an example of a standard vaccination plan for puppies.
- Between 6 and 8 weeks of age : First vaccine against Parvovirus
- At 9 weeks of age : The second Parvovirus vaccine and another vaccine against Distemper, Leptospirosis, Adenovirus type 2 and infectious hepatitis
- At 12 weeks of age : The third vaccine against Parvovirus and the memory of the previous vaccine are administered.
- From 16 weeks of age : Rabies vaccine and other optional vaccines are given
It should be remembered that although they are his first vaccines, it will be necessary to go annually to put the memories of said vaccines. That is, you will have to be vaccinated several times every year of your life to keep it protected.
Side effects of vaccines
In general, vaccines are very safe and usually do not affect the puppy’s well-being at all. The reactions that could occur, as with any other drug, are minimal compared to the benefits of its administration. These adverse effects usually last for about 24 hours and resolve spontaneously. They are as follows:
- Inflammation at the point of inoculation that can last up to a week.
- Anorexia, that is, loss of appetite.
- Allergic reactions requiring veterinary assistance are rare.
Are puppy vaccinations mandatory?
It is not mandatory to vaccinate dogs, with exceptions. For example, the rabies vaccine is mandatory by law in many countries, such as Spain. This means that not putting it on or not doing it with the frequency indicated by the authorities constitutes an administrative fault. It carries a financial penalty.
In addition, some vaccines, such as the kennel cough vaccine, may be essential if we want to leave our dog in a kennel. Many require this vaccination because it is a highly contagious disease in communities. In any case, the severity of the pathologies that can affect puppies makes it advisable to vaccinate.
Veterinarians point out some vaccines as essential and therefore highly recommended for all dogs, regardless of their characteristics. They are distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza, infectious hepatitis and leptospirosis.. The rest are considered optional and it is advisable to administer them or not depending
on the situation of the dog.