Which vaccines does my puppy need?
Original Question: What are my puppy’s first shots? - Mary
Thanks for your question.
The vaccines we administer today are divided into two categories: Core and Non-core. The core vaccines protect against diseases that are serious and common. It is strongly recommended to provide the core vaccinations in order to control these diseases across the pet population. Your individual dog may not be at significant risk of exposure to one of these viruses, but preventing them from recurring within a population means controlling it on an individual level. If you possess a desire to avoid vaccination in your pet, it’s important to consider the societal responsibility of controlling these diseases on a wider scale. Protecting your pet can also mean protecting the dog or cat next door, down the street, elsewhere in your city, state, province or country.
Based on the guidelines put forth by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), which are adopted by most veterinarians, it’s suggested that the primary series of vaccinations are as follows:
8 weeks of age – Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza (DAPP)
12 weeks of age – Same as 8 weeks
16 weeks of age – Same as 8 weeks + Rabies
Other non-core vaccinations may be recommended to you. You’ll want to discuss these recommendations with your veterinarian regarding your pet’s individual risk of being exposed to these diseases in the area where you live and your pet’s lifestyle, travel agenda and regular exposure to other animals. It’s important to think of these as recommended guidelines and not requirements. It’s important that your veterinarian educate you about this and let you make the decision. I don’t dictate a plan to my clients as I work to build a vaccine program that is tailor-made to them and their pet, rather than our hospital’s agenda. However, you have to keep in mind that your veterinarian is not just responsible for protecting your pet, but also all of the pets in your area by keeping diseases under control with a vaccination program across all the patients he is responsible for. There has to be a balance between these two goals. All vaccine programs should be tailored to each pet with the additional effort of controlling the serious ‘core’ diseases in all pets.
To learn more, you could watch our video “Which Vaccine Should I Give My Dog or Cat”, “How Often Vaccines Need Boosters & The Benefits of Titer Testing for Dogs & Cats” and “Everything You Need to Know About Vaccine Reactions”.
I hope this helps.
Dr. Clayton Greenway
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