Puppy vaccination is an important step in protecting the health of your puppy. We encourage giving the core vaccines to all puppies. This will protect puppies against Rabies, Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus. We recommend administering vaccines to puppies at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age. During the last visit at 16 weeks of age, we recommend giving the first rabies vaccine.
In addition to the core vaccines there are also non core vaccines known as lifestyle vaccines. These are vaccines which you may elect to give depending on your puppy’s risk. Examples include vaccines against kennel cough, leptospirosis and Lyme disease.
Kennel cough is an upper respiratory tract infection potentially caused by a bacterium called Bordetella bronchiseptica. It is recommended to have the vaccine during the first most vulnerable year of your puppy’s life. Future vaccination may depend on boarding, and exposure to other dogs.
Leptospirosis is another bacterium which you may elect to vaccinate against. This bacterium is found in wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, and small rodents. The bacterium is shed in the urine and can be transmitted through direct contact such as contaminated puddles. Once ingested or in contact with your puppy’s mucus membranes (ie mouth, eyes, nose), the bacterium can localize to the kidneys and potentially lead to severe illness and permanent kidney damage. The disease is also zoonotic meaning it can be transmitted to humans. The vaccine is effective for the most common strains of leptospirosis.
Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium that is transmitted by ticks. The vaccine may be considered in areas endemic with Lyme disease. When Lyme disease is contracted, you may notice joint pain, fever, lethargy and/or neurological signs weeks to months after exposure. Vaccines are effective, however, should you choose not to vaccinate, blood testing is recommended.