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First-year vaccinations: A guide for puppies

 by lucy on 26 Jul 2018 |
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Bringing home a new puppy? Here is your guide to the first-year vaccinations you’ll need to get your companion to keep him healthy.

When you bring your puppy home, you’re committing to provide him with a home for life. Caring for your new pet doesn’t stop with providing a loving home, however; he will also need a series of vaccinations to protect his health during his first year and throughout his lifetime.
Vaccinations are designed to protect your pet against an array of illnesses. By injecting a small amount of bacteria, viruses or other infectious organisms under your dog’s skin, the injections produce an immune response. After being exposed, you dog’s body is able to identify these agents and release antibodies to fight them rapidly in the future. Your puppy should receive his first round of vaccinations at age six to eight weeks. Here is a schedule of core and optional vaccinations as your new companion grows:
  • Six to eight weeks: Your puppy should receive his distemper, measles and parainfluenza vaccines. Distemper causes flu-like symptoms initially and results in severe neurological symptoms and often death. Parainfluenza virus is one of the causes of kennel cough, a contagious, cold-like condition in dogs. Some owners also opt to protect their pets against Bordatella—one of the most common agents responsible for kennel cough—at this age, especially for puppies in boarding or social settings.
  • Ten to twelve weeks: As he gets older, your pet will need the DHPP vaccination, a combination shot that arms him against distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza and parvovirus. This is important because parvo is a serious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea, often with fatal results. Some owners also opt to protect their pets against Bordatella at this age.
           There are several optional vaccinations your growing puppy can receive, including against                   Coronavirus, an incurable and Leptospirosis, a treatable disease often caused by contact                     withand Lyme disease, a treatable condition passed to dogs through tick bites.
  • Twelve to twenty-four weeks: Your growing pet will need to be vaccinated against rabies, a severe and fatal virus that can spread to humans and other mammals.
In addition, your dog will need boosters for DHPP every three weeks until he is 16 weeks old, with a minimum of two vaccines given. Depending on when his vaccine series begins, your pet may receive up to four DHPP vaccinations in his first year. After that, he should receive the vaccine every one to two years.
Rabies vaccinations are also required by law in the United States, with boosters given every one to three years.
Opinions differ on other adult vaccines. While some veterinarians believe too many vaccinations can pose a health risk to your dog, others say annual vaccinations help prevent dangerous diseases. Some dog owners opt for titer tests, which measure a dog’s immunity levels, to help guide them in choosing which annual vaccinations to give their pet. For more information, visit https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/puppy-health/puppy-shots-complete-guide/.


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