A fuzzy blanket and bed, fun squeaky toys, delicious treats, and all of your warm love and care as a puppy parent are essential in your puppy’s life. Still, their health and wellness are as important, too. Follow our puppy vaccination and vet schedule.
Bringing your puppy to the veterinarian for their several rounds of vaccinations may feel like an inconvenience. Remember that vaccinations will help protect your pup from many diseases. Some of them can lead to fatality. Therefore it is so crucial that your puppy receives all of their vaccinations and that you follow up with the core vaccines throughout their lifespan. All of the different vaccinations that you have to follow up on for your puppy may seem a bit confusing at first. It will help to know which vaccinations are considered the ‘core’ vaccinations and the non-core vaccinations.
Core vaccinations are vaccines that are recommended for every dog regardless of their geographic location or lifestyle. The DHPP vaccine is a combination core vaccine, and it protects against canine distemper (D), Hepatitis (H), Parvovirus (P), as well as parainfluenza (P). It may also be referred to as the DAPP vaccine or DA2PP vaccine.
Most states require rabies vaccination.
Non-core vaccinations are essential but not mandatory. It is optional, but some veterinarians will recommend dogs to receive certain vaccines depending on their lifestyle. For example, suppose you know that you and your puppy will spend a lot of time by the water. In that case, your vet may recommend the leptospirosis vaccine because dogs can become infected by drinking contaminated water. Some of the non-core vaccinations include bordetella, canine influenza, canine coronavirus, leptospirosis, and Lyme disease.
What is Canine Distemper?
Canine distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that is caused by the canine distemper virus. It is spread through direct contact with an infected dog or from the air that the infected dog was coughing or sneezing in, and it attacks the tonsils and lymph nodes. The virus attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal, urogenital, and nervous systems.
Symptoms include discharge from the eyes and nose, high fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, hardened paw pads, fever, seizures, and paralysis. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for canine distemper. Dogs will need constant care to control some of the symptoms and to prevent secondary infections. Some dogs that survive may end up with neurologic damage that can be permanent.
What is Hepatitis?
The canine adenovirus type 1 causes canine hepatitis. This virus spreads through the urine or feces of infected dogs and attacks the liver, and damages cells.
Symptoms include fever, lethargy, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, enlarged lymph nodes, abdominal pain, pale color, and yellow discoloration of the gums and whites’ eyes.
In some severe cases, it can lead to fatality within hours or between one to two days. The canine adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2) is closely related to CAV-1, and this causes kennel cough in dogs. Symptoms of kennel cough include a strong cough, runny nose, sneezing, lethargy, loss of appetite, and low fever. Similar to distemper, this can only be treated with supportive care.
What is Parvovirus?
Canine parvovirus (parvo) is highly contagious and is spread through either direct contact with the feces of an infected dog or contact with virus-contaminated objects such as a food bowl or toys. Unfortunately, some young puppies with poorly developed immune systems can die from parvo.
Symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, shock, and dehydration. In some cases, extreme dehydration can cause fatality within 48 to 72 hours. The parvo vaccine is the only way to prevent a dog from contracting this virus.
What is Parainfluenza?
Parainfluenza is a highly contagious respiratory virus and is responsible for kennel cough. It is transmitted through the air and can spread rapidly.
Symptoms include coughing (dry or moist), low-grade fever, nasal discharge, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Most dogs recover independently, but some vets prescribe antibiotics to prevent secondary infection, cough suppressants, and additional fluids.
What is Rabies?
Rabies is a viral and fatal disease that many mammals can carry. It is a disease that passes from animals to humans, also known as a zoonotic disease. It is transmitted through a bite from an infected mammal. Rabies causes acute encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and eventually, it infects the entire central nervous system causing death.
Symptoms include fever, paralysis, seizures, inability to swallow, pica (eating non-food items), lack of coordination, unusual aggression, excessive drooling, fear of water, anxiety, hallucinations, and death. Treatment within hours of infection is essential; otherwise, death is highly likely. Make sure to check with your veterinarian about the rabies vaccination laws in your state and area.
Here is a general guideline on what vaccines are given and at what age for puppies.
6-8 weeks of age
Core vaccines: DHPP (Your puppy will need this series of vaccination every four weeks until they have reached close to the age of seventeen weeks old).
A booster is required every one to two years.
Core vaccine (in some states): Rabies (A booster is required one year later after the initial shot). States vary on whether they require a one-year or three-year interval of boosters moving forward.
Some dogs do not need every vaccine. It will depend on which part of the country you live in, your dog’s individual risk factors, and lifestyle. As a puppy parent, you want to make sure your puppy is healthy and stays healthy for the rest of their life. It will be best to consult with your veterinarian on what vaccinations your puppy will specifically need. After all, you want your canine best friend to live a long, happy, and healthy life with you.