Immunity in puppies
Puppies are usually protected during the first few weeks of life, thanks to immunity passed through the mother’s first milk(colostrum). However, this immunity fades rapidly, leaving the puppy susceptible to disease within a few weeks. At this point, vaccination can take over from the mother in providing protection.
The puppy’s first vaccination
The first time a puppy is vaccinated a course of two injections is usually given, separated by two more or more weeks. This primary course can be started as early as six weeks of age – but since most are already older than that when they are bought, it’s vital to talk to your vet as soon as possible about vaccination timings. The vet will also want to give your new puppy a general check – up.
When can my puppy meet other animals?
It’s important for young puppies to socialise with other animals – it improves their behaviour in later life. Vaccination doesn’t work immediately; it takes a week or so for immunity to develop. Your vet will advise you when it’s safe to let your puppy meet others
Immunity to disease may fade, leaving your dog at risk. For some diseases, boosters may be needed every 3 or 4 years but for some annually. An annual visit to your vet will allow for a general health check and for necessary boosters to be given.
Record of vaccination
You’ll be given a certificate that contains a record of the vaccination and tells you when the next booster is due. Boarding kennels, training classes and, of course, your vet will need to see this certificate, so always keep it in a safe place.
What diseases do we vaccinate against?
A hardy virus that can survive for long periods in the environment. Caused major epidemics in the 1970’s and remains widespread in pockets throughout the UK. Usually fatal.
Canine Distemper (Hard Pad)
Another severe, usually fatal disease, mercifully rare in the UK in recent years due to vaccination. However, major outbreaks have occurred in Europe.
Still exists in the UK, although now rare due to vaccination. Often fatal.
Contracted from the urine of rats and/or other dogs. Canals and rivers can be contaminated, and bacteria that cause this disease are widespread in the UK. Can also cause severe disease in humans (Weils disease).
Extremely unpleasant whooping cough-like infection, usually transmitted in places where dogs gather together (kennels, shows and also parks where lots of dogs are walked). The disease may occasionally be life-threatening typically in young puppies and other dogs with a weakened immunity.
Fatal disease, not found in dogs in the UK. Vaccination is required if your dog is travelling abroad.