At Family Pet Veterinary Practice, we want to get your puppies off to the right start. A big part of that is vaccinating them against dangerous and debilitating diseases. This should be started when young to protect them early, especially as the antibodies they received from their mothers will be decreasing by the time of adoption.
During the exam, we will discuss your dog’s vaccine options. A few of the vaccines are done in all dogs (The “Core Vaccines”), while others (The “Optional Vaccines”) may be recommended depending on your dog’s risk and lifestyle. Our goal is to educate you on your options, not to pressure you into additional services. We can provide as many or as few vaccines as needed!
Rabies – Any mammal, including people, can become infected from a bite wound or other contact with a rabid animal. Commonly infected wildlife are raccoons, foxes, and bats. Due to the health risk to people, this vaccine is required by law. Puppies need to have their first rabies vaccine between 3 and 6 months of age. Here in Maryland it is good for 1 year, and each subsequent booster is good for 3 years.
Distemper – This is a combination vaccine that protects from distemper (of course), adenovirus or hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus. Most puppies coming into our office will have been vaccinated for this when very young, and require boosters every 3-4 weeks until at least 12 weeks of age.
Leptospirosis – This disease is spread by infected wild animals, who urinate the bacteria into the ground or water. Our dogs may pick it up through cracks in their skin or by drinking it in contaminated rain pu
ddles or streams. The bacteria causes liver and kidney disease, so we recommend this vaccine to most of our clients.
Lyme – Lyme disease is spread by deer ticks (and we have a lot of deer!). In dogs, lyme disease causes joint pain, poor appetite, reduced energy, and occasional cases of kidney failure. We always recommend using a flea/tick product to prevent exposure, but the vaccine is available in case there is a lapse in the tick control.
Bordetella – Also known as “kennel cough”, this is a contagious disease spread from dog to dog. Kennels require it for boarding, but your dog may pick it up at groomers, dog parks, obedience/training classes, and other events where many dogs come together. The honking cough it causes is highly annoying and uncomfortable, but treatable.
Canine Influenza – This virus is also contagious among dogs and causes cold like symptoms. Under 10% of those infected can develop serious pneumonias or death.