Puppies are not born with a fully-developed immune system so a variety of vaccinations are recommended in order to protect them from harmful diseases and infections. Vaccines are designed to encourage your puppy’s body to produce antibodies that will begin killing off dangerous germs as soon as they enter the bloodstream. After having been exposed to a certain disease through the administration of its vaccine, your puppy’s body will be equipped to defend itself against the real disease in the future.
What Vaccinations Does my Puppy Need?
Your dog is considered to be a puppy until it reaches 2 years of age. The chart below will explain what vaccinations your puppy needs during those first two years of life and when it should get them.
|5 weeks||Parvovirus||For puppies at high risk. High-risk puppies may need an additional vaccine at 15 weeks. Parvovirus is a highly contagious, viral disease that is often characterized by bloody diarrhea and can cause death in as little as two days after the onset of the disease.|
|6 to 9 weeks||5-way combination vaccine (includes Canine Distemper, Parainfluenza, Adenovirus, Hepatitis and Parvovirus)||Canine Distemper is a paramyxovirus which affects the organs, often causing respiratory problems, diarrhea and vomiting.
The Parainfluenza virus is one of the most common agents causing tracheobronchitis, or kennel cough. The parainfluenza vaccine is designed to protect your puppy from this virus.Canine Adenovirus is also thought to contribute to the contraction of kennel cough and the adenovirus vaccine is administered to puppies to help prevent the disease.
The Hepatitis vaccine is designed to protect your puppy from canine hepatitis, a disease which often affects the liver and can be fatal if untreated.
|12 weeks||Lyme7-way combination vaccine (includes Canine Distemper, Parainfluenza, Hepatitis, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, Leptospirosis and Coronavirus)||Recommended for areas where Lyme disease is a concern or for puppies traveling to affected areas.
The Leptospirosis vaccine helps to prevent some of the more common strains of Leptospirosis called canicola and icterohaemorrhagiae. This disease enters the blood stream and spreads to the organs, often causing liver and kidney infections.
The Coronavirus vaccine is designed to prevent the second most common viral cause of diarrhea in puppies, Canine Coronavirus (CCV). The symptoms of this disease are similar to but often less severe than Parvovirus and the mortality rate is much lower.
|12 weeks or older||Rabies||The Rabies vaccine is designed to protect your puppy against rabies, a viral infection which spreads through the nerves into the brain. In the early stages of the infection dogs may exhibit nervousness and anxiety, after which they may develop irritable and aggressive behavior. The final stage of the disease is often characterized by a paralytic phase in which the dog will eventually go into respiratory failure and die.|
|15 weeks||Lyme7-way combination vaccine (includes Canine Distemper, Parainfluenza, Hepatitis, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, Leptospirosis and Coronavirus)||Recommended for areas where Lyme disease is a concern or for puppies traveling to affected areas. See above for descriptions of other vaccines.|
|6 months||Bordatella||Recommended for dogs that are shown or boarded, this vaccine helps to prevent “kennel cough”. Repeat vaccine every 6 to 9 months.|
|Adult boosters (12 to 24 months)||Lyme7-way combination vaccine (includes Canine Distemper, Parainfluenza, Hepatitis, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, Leptospirosis and Coronavirus)||Recommended for areas where Lyme disease is a concern or for puppies travelling to affected areas. See above for descriptions of other vaccines.|
Things to Keep in Mind
Just because your puppy has been vaccinated does not mean that it is immediately protected. After the vaccine has been administered, your puppy’s immune system will need time to recognize the disease’s antigens and to produce the antibodies to fight them. In most cases, your puppy will not be protected from disease until five days after the vaccination, though full protection can take up to two weeks. In some cases, puppies that have been vaccinated still contract the disease. This occurs when the puppy’s immune system fails to respond properly to the vaccine which is often a result of interference by maternal antibodies. It is also wise to keep in mind that while some vaccines are recommended for all dogs, your puppy may have specific needs. It is best to consult a veterinarian before beginning a vaccination schedule.