Vaccines are primarily to protect against Parvovirus and Distemper Virus. Puppies are born with protection against these diseases from their mom’s milk. That protection wanes starting at 7-8 weeks and is completely gone by 16 weeks. While that protection is in their system our vaccines don’t work, so the series of shots starting at 7-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks, and then 16 weeks is in order to ensure your puppy is protected.
A puppy’s greatest risk during this period is another puppy so make sure you aren’t going where other puppies that may not have their shots will be — i.e. the dog walking parks, the beaches, the pet stores. Your puppy’s most vulnerable period is right when you pick up at 8-9 weeks and for the following 2 weeks since many of these diseases have up to a 10 day incubation period (acting well but carrying the virus). Any vomiting, anorexia (even missing 1 meal), coughing, or diarrhea can be a very important signal during this time. Feeding regular meals will help you to stay in touch with what is normal and will help with housebreaking. Learning to take a rectal temperature is also very useful (normal 100.8-101.8).
Parasites and Puppies
Nature wants puppies to be born with roundworms and give them to them before they are even born. All puppies need to be dewormed 2 times at 2 week intervals to make sure you get rid of the roundworms. A stool sample will help detect additional parasites that they pick up from the soil such as Giardia and Coccidia. One negative stool sample may be a false negative so if your puppy has persistent diarrhea, always consult our office and do some additional dewormings. Some of these parasites can be transmitted to people so especially children should be taught good hand/mouth hygiene.
Fleas have made a comeback and our ticks carry several dangerous diseases. A good flea and tick product should be used starting at 8 weeks. Your goal is to never see a tick; some can transmit disease in as little as a few hours. Heartworm disease has also made a come back. Heartworm is a deadly disease carried by mosquitoes. It is dangerous to have and to treat but easy to prevent, with a once a month prevention which also helps get rid of intestinal parasites.
Puppy Vaccine Schedule
This is a typical schedule for vaccines, boosters, dewormings. It may vary somewhat depending on when vaccines were started and the overall health of the puppy.
Distemper: a series of 3, at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks
Lyme: a series of 2, usually done after 16 week distemper
Rabies: done at 13-14 weeks Leptospirosis: a series of 2, usually done in summer spaced 3-4 weeks apart
Bordatella: optional, recommended if boarded, goes to the groomer, attends puppy classes
Deworming: usually done twice at 2 weeks apart
Flea and tick prevention: starting at 8 weeks
Heartworm prevention: monthly starting at 8 weeks
Spay/Neuter: typically after last vaccine