Vaccinations help prevent infectious diseases, which can sometimes be fatal. Some vaccinations are compulsory while others are only recommended. Establishing the correct vaccination schedule for your puppy is extremely important.
Why do I need to vaccinate my puppy?
After birth, puppies receive the antibodies in their mother’s milk. As a result, they are protected against harmful microorganisms.
However, over time, this protection will expire, which means that the risk of infectious diseases increases. Proper vaccinations, given at the appropriate age, will help protect your puppy from these diseases or infections.
How do vaccinations work?
Vaccinations help prevent infectious diseases, some of which are fatal. Some vaccinations are compulsory, others are recommended.
The vaccine, depending on the type, contains either a live but weakened pathogen, otherwise also known as an antigen – then we say that these are attenuated vaccines or a dead pathogen (so-called inactivated vaccines). There are also vaccines that contain only fragments of the causative agent – just enough to trigger a reaction in the body, but not harm it. Vaccines can be either monovalent (protect against one disease), or polyvalent, otherwise combined – thanks to the content of several antigens, they allow the animal to immunize against various diseases.
Types of vaccinations in dogs
Obligatory protective vaccination against rabies, in accordance with the act on the protection of animal health and combating infectious diseases in animals, applies to dogs over 3 months of age. Dog owners are required to vaccinate their dogs against rabies within 30 days from the date the dog is 3.
According to the recommendations of WSAVA, the global organization of veterinarians, vaccinations for dogs can be divided into three main groups:
basic vaccinations – the so-called Core Vaccination. Every dog in this group should be vaccinated. These include vaccinations against rabies, parvovirosis, distemper, Rubarth’s disease.
additional vaccinations – Noncore vaccination. They are recommended when a given dog may be at risk of specific diseases due to its health condition or lifestyle. These include, for example, vaccination against Lyme disease (for animals that live in areas infested by ticks), leptospirosis (if the animal frequently walks in the forest or has a tendency to hunt rodents), or dermatophytosis or herpesvirosis (in the case of breeding).
Puppy vaccination calendar:
Puppies have their immunizations most effective when they are given on schedule, with booster doses in mind afterwards. A puppy’s immunization program usually begins at 6-8 weeks of age.
- Sample vaccination schedule:
7-9 weeks of age: vaccination against distemper, infectious hepatitis, parvovirosis, but if necessary, these vaccinations can be given earlier.
- 11–13 weeks of age: booster dose of the previous 3 vaccinations + vaccination against rabies and leptospirosis;
- 15-17 weeks of age: booster doses of vaccination against rabies and leptospirosis;
- 15 months of age: booster doses of all vaccinations above.
Booster vaccinations (adult dogs):
Your puppy must receive booster doses annually to ensure that vaccinations are effective. Each year, the dog should receive booster doses of the following vaccinations: distemper, infectious hepatitis and canine parvovirosis, leptospirosis and rabies.
What happens when a puppy is vaccinated?
This stimulates the immune system to make antibodies against specific pathogens. The viruses and bacteria in vaccines are most often dead or inactivated, which means they cannot usually cause disease.
How will my puppy behave after being vaccinated?
Your puppy may appear a bit lethargic, especially on the first day after vaccination. It depends on how your immune system responds to the vaccine.
What to do with my puppy immediately after vaccination?
After vaccination, make sure your puppy is calm, as their immune system will be working more intensively than usual. If you are still concerned about your puppy’s behavior 24 hours after vaccination, contact your veterinarian.
It is crucial to follow your puppy’s immunization schedule as they are the most important way to prevent infectious diseases in dogs. Immediately after the puppy arrives at his new home, it is imperative to arrange a calendar of vaccinations with your vet and to complete them in a timely manner.