Puppy Shots -- video transcript

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We get this question a lot: "How often do you give shots? When should you give shots, from puppy all the way up into senior years? What shots are required? What shots are recommended, and what shots you really don't need?"

Before the bitch is bred, she should always be up-to-date on her vaccinations. This ensures that the puppies get the required immunity that need from birth up through eight weeks. If the dog is unknown, if she was vaccinated, or if you know that the dog wasn't vaccinated, vaccinations need to start an earlier time and that really needs to be discussed with a vet as to what needs to be done.

Otherwise, if the bitch is fully vaccinated and everything was a normal pregnancy, vaccinations should start at 8 weeks of age. At this time, the recommendation is to give a distemper combination shot. Anything that includes distemper, parainfluenza virus, parvovirus, and adenovirus type 2, is gonna cover what you need at 8 weeks.

The next shot should be administered three to four weeks later. Usually, we recommend at 12. That will be the same shot. If corona is a concern in your area, you can add corona at this shot. If it's not, you can skip it. Again, something to talk to your vet about.

Next is another shot, four weeks later so at 16 weeks. Again, this shot is going to be that Proguard 5, the distemper combo. Again, if you did the coronavirus at your 12-week shot, you should do it again at the 16-week shot. If you didn't, just do the same four-way combo and that is all you need for your initial puppy series.

Rabies, which must be administered by a veterinarian, in most locales, is given after 6 months. Occasionally, in high-risk areas, or if there's an epidemic going on with rabies, it is okay to give the rabies after 4 months. One year after that 16-week shot is when we give the booster. Depending on what's going on in your area, you can stick with the regular combo – that distemper, parainfluenza virus, parvovirus, adenovirus combo.

If you've got other issues in your area, such as Lepto, or maybe if corona is still a concern, those might be other ones to add at this time. Then, the dog should get shots on a yearly basis, unless you're going with a three-year shot. Most companies are starting to come out with three-year shots. We're finding that we're doing a lot of vaccinating in dogs, and by doing it every three years, they're hoping that the incidences of vaccine sarcosis and other vaccine-related illness is going to decline. So always check with the manufacturer on whether it's a yearly vaccine, or if it's a three-year vaccine. Again, at this yearly appointment you should get the rabies done. Again, that has to be administered by a vet. After this initial two shots – so they obviously got one at six months, and then they'll get one at a year – after that, they can go to every three years, unless your local area requires it more often.

We don't recommend that you allow your puppies to go out in public places, even places like PetSmart, PETCO, because there's a huge risk of them contracting parvo from these places. Until they're fully vaccinated, and that means after 16 weeks, so after they've had all three shots, they should not go out in public places, including also dog parks. So keep your puppy home. Keep your puppy safe.

Some of the other ones we vaccinate against are Leptospirosis, and this one is probably the least understood. It is carried in dirty water. They believe raccoons carry it the most. So hunting dogs, dogs that are around a lot of other dogs; it's really important that they get it. The only caveat I will say to that is small dogs tend to react to the vaccine. So if you can keep their risk levels low, avoid the vaccine for Lepto in smaller dogs and that includes your Chihuahuas, your Poms. I would say anything less than about 15 pounds you should think twice about giving that Lepto vaccine.

That brings us to Giardia. Giardia is a vaccine you can give. Giardia is the bug that lives in the water. Every water source in the United States is infected with Giardia, so it is common for dogs to get it. The only thing is the vaccine is not very effective. So unless your dog is going to be around a lot of this dirty water, I don't do Giardia, and I know a lot of people don't recommend it, just because it's not very effective. So there's no reason to have the risk of vaccine if it's not gonna be very effective. So that's a big one to talk to your vet about if you're really in a high-risk group.

The last one is Bordetella. This is the kennel cough disease. This is really important for dogs that go to the dog park a lot, to the groomer's. A lot of times it's required at groomer's and obviously at kennels or boarding facilities. Bordetella can be administered nasally, or by an injection. The nasal one tends to work faster, usually within a week. That one's effective. While the injectable, while it lasts, takes two weeks to affect; it lasts up to a year, whereas the nasal only lasts six months. So it's kinda up to you on what your risk factors, and how often you wanna be giving it. Some kennels do require that the nasal is the only given. So it's probably a good idea to ask wherever is requiring it – either your kennel, or your groomer – if they require one or the other. If your dog doesn't go out and see a lot of other dogs, Bordetella is one you can skip, just because the effectiveness isn't that high either. It's only effective against four strains of kennel cough and there's about 28. So it's another one just like Lyme. If there's no real reason to vaccinate against it, it's also one you can skip.

Then, Rabies – obviously contracted from rabid animals. Here is the big thing on that though: if your dog is suspected of having rabies and it is unvaccinated, they will euthanize your dog. So if one vaccine you must do, it is Rabies and keep them up-to-date on it.

To give vaccines, we do recommend that you go to your vet, unless you have a lot of experience, or have someone who is experienced showing you how to do it. This is for a couple reasons. At the vet, if the vet gives them in their proper sequence, if your animal does come down with one of the diseases in the vaccine, the manufacturer of the vaccine will often times cover the cost of treatment. So say you've given the vaccines in order, and your 18-week puppy, after all its vaccines, comes down with Parvo, your vet can call the manufacturer of the vaccine, and often times they will pay for your treatment of Parvo, which can run into thousands of dollars. So just keep that in mind. That's a good reason why you can go to the vet. The other reason is vaccine reactions. Often times people at home – you know if you give vaccines at home, obviously it saves you money – but at the same time, if your animal has a reaction, you need to act quickly to save your animal's life. It can get that bad. So just keep that in mind too, if you're willing to accept that risk that you may have to end up taking them to the vet anyway.

Most common vaccine reactions are a little knot, where you give the vaccine, all the way up to they could go into a seizure, or anaphylactic shock. So just keep that in mind when you give them. If you do decide to give them yourself, most often times you have to reconstitute them, which means mixing the liquid with the powder. So you draw out the liquid side, inject it into the powder side, shake it up, wait a few moments, draw it back out, and give it to the animal. The recommended place to give the shot is either over a shoulder or a hip. Just pull up the skin to form a tent. Stick the needle just under the skin. You don't want to be into any muscle or fat layer – this is a subcutaneous injection – and then inject all the fluid.

A big question I get asked is if different animals of different sizes get different doses, and the answer is no. Every animal gets the same dose, whether it's a Chihuahua or a Great Dane. Everyone gets the same and immune reaction is a mean reaction. So that's kinda our wrap-up on vaccines.

If you have any questions, obviously contact your vet and we hope we helped you out today. Have a great day!

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By: Susan Stekoll

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