what you must know about Puppy vaccinations

what you must know about Puppy vaccinations 1

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The purpose of puppy vaccinations is to protect puppies against a number of very serious infectious diseases that can be contracted in your area.   It is natural and normal to worry about vaccinating your puppy but there are good reasons for doing so

What will happen if I chose not to vaccinate?

If you do not vaccinate your puppy he may catch one or more serious diseases  such as

  • Canine distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Canine hepatitis
  • Leptospirosis

and he may be permanently harmed or lose his life in the process.

You will also be unable to leave him in any reputable boarding kennels and may be excluded from many training classes if you cannot provide evidence of vaccination

Are vaccinations harmful?

No vaccination is entirely ‘risk-free’.  There will always be rare instances when a puppy reacts badly to vaccination.   The point to consider is whether the risk of vaccination (which is very small indeed) is worth taking in order to avoid the risk of catching (and dying from) some very horrible diseases.    Only you can make that choice,  but at the time of writing,  the risks involved in ‘not vaccinating’  would appear greater than the risks of vaccinating

Is there an alternative?

Once your dog has completed an initial course of vaccinations,  it is possible to measure his level of immunity to certain diseases to avoid having to revaccinate every year.  This is done using an annual blood test or titer.  Using titers can prevent over-vaccinating,  though it is unlikely to save you any money.  Ask your vet for further information if you are interested in this option.

Some people are tempted to use homeopathic nosodes as an alternative to vaccines.  Unfortunately in a controlled clinical study by Larson and colleagues,   homeopathic nosodes completely failed to protect any of the puppies in the study from parvovirus.   You might, therefore, want to avoid this option

To date, there is no valid evidence that homeopathic nosodes will provide your pet with any protection whatsoever against any disease.

When should the first vaccinations be given?

Puppies are given some immunity from their mothers via their mother’s milk, and until it wears off, this acquired immunity may actually interfere with the vaccine.  Therefore puppies should not be vaccinated too early.  Seven to eight weeks is about the right age,  but your vet will be able to guide you on this.