Thursday, July 23, 2009

Puppy Shots

Today the puppies are scheduled for their first set of puppy shots. Ideally it would be closer to their 8 week old birthday, but making arrangements with the local wholistic veterinarian and having people pick up their puppies made the timing difficult. Linda did much research on the latest in vaccination protocols and then luckily our local vet had the recommended vaccine available. The Merck 3 way combination shot that cover the core diseases. There should be a minimum of 3 weeks, preferably 4 weeks before the next shot is given. Rabies should be given separately, at least 4 weeks after any previous shots Remember, rabies should NEVER be given in conjunction with another vaccination.

These puppy shots are crucial steps in assuring it will have a healthy and happy life.

The protocols for what to vaccinate for and when to administer the shots are very controversial. Many vet practices are still administering vaccines that are designed to cover a wide spectrum of diseases. Many people are now questioning the frequency of vaccination, some safety vs. efficacy concerns, whether to vaccinate at all, and what does the vaccine actually contain. So when you ask your vet when to bring your animal back for its next shot, be aware there is no one correct answer.

Core vaccines are designed to protect against diseases that are more serious or potentially fatal. These diseases are found in all areas of North America and are more easily transmitted than noncore diseases. The AAHA guidelines define the following as core vaccines: distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus and rabies. All puppies should be vaccinate these diseases.

Noncore vaccines are those reserved for patients at specific risk for infection due to exposure or lifestyle. The AAHA guidelines classify kennel cough, Lyme disease and leptospirosis vaccines within the noncore group.

Optional or “noncore” vaccines are those that should be considered only in special circumstances because their use is more dependent on the exposure risk of the individual animal. Issues of geographic location and lifestyle should be considered before administering these vaccines. In addition, the diseases involved are generally self-limiting or respond readily to treatment. This group of vaccines comprises distemper-measles virus (D-MV), canine parainfluenza virus (CPIV), Leptospira, Bordetella, and Borrelia.

Lyme disease vaccinations give highly unreliable protection, and can cause arthritic disease Neither Lyme vaccinations or leptospirosis vaccinations should be given close to the time that any other vaccinations are given.

Another source of controversy is the recommended frequency of vaccinations. Although yearly boosters are recommended by most vets, for many diseases the yearly booster really is not obligatory. However, a yearly checkup is necessary for the same reasons you would have one yourself. For the low-risk pet, once the initial puppy series is completed, a booster at one year and another at three years should suffice until your dog's senior years.

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