Vaccinations provide important protection for your pet’s health
What Are The Core Dog Vaccinations?
Core puppy vaccinations and dog vaccinations are considered vital to all canines based on a universal risk of exposure, the severity of disease, and the risk of transmission to other dogs, as well as other animal species including human beings.
The American Animal Hospital Association’s Canine Task Force considers the following dog vaccinations to be core:
- Canine Parvovirus
- Canine Distemper
Non-core – vaccines include
- Canine Influenza (dog flu)
- Lyme vaccine
Although these vaccines are not considered Core, they are very important for most dogs who may be exposed to these infectious diseases. At your dog’s next appointment, we will be happy to review which of the above make the most sense for your dog and make the appropriate recommendations.
Rabies vaccinations are required by law. Owners must periodically have their dogs and puppies vaccinated against rabies, but the specific time frames for puppy vaccinations and dog vaccinations vary by state/country. The puppy rabies vaccine is generally given at 16 weeks ( no earlier than week 12), and the rabies vaccination is good for one year. For adult dogs, the rabies vaccination is good for three years and should be addressed at the time of the first visit for new patients. For example, a puppy would receive the rabies vaccine at 16 weeks, 1 year, and then again at age 4.
Jumpstart your puppy’s immune system.
In their first year of life, puppies will need to visit their veterinarian numerous times to get vaccinated for and become immunized against potentially fatal, yet preventable infectious diseases. The worst of these are Distemper and Parvo.
The timing and interval between booster vaccinations is critical to ensure your puppy is protected, as their mother’s antibodies can interfere with a vaccination’s ability to mount your puppy’s own immune response. Thus, puppies need a series of vaccinations to allow their immune system to “break through” waning maternal antibody.
When to vaccinate?
Puppies should receive their first vaccinations at six to eight weeks of age. Be sure to get medical records for a newly purchased or adopted puppy so your veterinarian can determine what has been given and when the next vaccine is due. Your veterinarian will then recommend a schedule depending on the lifestyle you envision for your puppy and risk of certain diseases based on where you live or travel.
Most vaccines are given every 2-4 weeks until actual protection is expected to be achieved. Depending on your puppy’s age, this may require 3-4 vaccinations for the Distemper/Parvo series until your puppy is 16-20 weeks of age. If your dog is over 16 weeks of age and isn’t up-to-date on shots, or if you’re not sure, your veterinarian may recommend a shorter series.
Core v. non-core vaccinations
Core vaccines should be given to ALL dogs and puppies. Non-core vaccines are given based on lifestyle and where you live/travel. Core vaccines include:
- DHP (also called DAP) – stands for Distemper, Hepatitis (or Adenovirus-2), and Parvo and are usually combined.
- Rabies – usually required by state or local law, which dictates the age and intervals for your dog.
Non-core vaccines are important, but not needed for all dogs. Vaccines in this category are:
- Parainfluenza – often combined with DHP.
- Leptospirosis – can be given separate or combined with DHP or DHPP. 2-vaccine series needed initially, followed by an annual booster.
- Bordetella – can be given intranasally, orally, or injectable. Route and interval to be determined by your veterinarian.
- Canine Influenza – 2 strains (H3N2 and H3N8), 2-vaccine series needed initially, followed by an annual booster.
- Lyme – 2-vaccine series needed initially, followed by an annual booster.
A typical puppy vaccination schedule:
- First vaccination: 6 to 8 weeks – DHP
- Second vaccination: 9 to 11 weeks – DHP
- Third vaccination: 12 to 15 weeks – DHP
- Fourth vaccination: 16 to 20 weeks – DHP
- Booster DHP: 1 year of age or 12 months after the last puppy shot, then as recommended (usually every 1-3 years)
- Rabies vaccination: typically required by law at 3-6 months of age with a booster 12 months later, then a booster every 1-3 years.
- Bordetella, Parainfluenza, and Canine Influenza recommended for social dogs (day camp, dog parks, boarding, grooming, dog shows).
- Lyme or Leptospirosis: May be recommended by your veterinarian if you live in or travel with your dog to an area where these are endemic.
Side Effects And Risks Associated With Dog Vaccinations
The benefits of vaccinations far outweigh any risks. Adverse reactions to dog vaccines are rare. However, as with any medication or immunization protocol, puppy vaccinations and dog vaccinations can cause some side effects. We do recommend that you have your puppy or dog vaccinated at a time when you can monitor them after the vaccination.
If your dog does experience any reaction to vaccinations, symptoms may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Facial or paw swelling and/or hives
- Pain or swelling around the injection site
- Collapse, difficulty breathing, and seizures (anaphylactic shock)
Just as with human vaccines, mild symptoms can be ignored. The majority of reactions are mild and short lived. If you suspect a more severe reaction to puppy vaccines or dog vaccines, such as facial swelling, vomiting or lethargy, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.