How old should a puppy be when it is first vaccinated?

Do you agree when I say that puppies are irresistible? Very few people can resist the urge to touch and to cuddle these adorable fur balls. These animals really do bring enormous enjoyment! Given that, many people would take on a puppy without considering the responsibility that comes along with the ownership. Anyone who is considering getting a puppy should be aware that apart from the basic needs of the pet he/she would also have to provide for the necessary health care. From the breeder, the first stop of the new puppy owner should be a veterinary facility. Worm infestation is very common in puppies thus a vet consult is necessary for worming prescription. Preventative care against canine diseases is necessary for dogs of all ages but it is extremely vital for puppies. Puppies would benefit from a vaccination program. Without these shots the life of the puppy will be in peril as the undeveloped immune system of these very young dogs does not have the ability to fight canine diseases.

Bacterial diseases are highly contagious. Diseases caused by viruses have no cure. Add to this is the fact that treatments for the diseases of our canine friends don’t come cheap. Given the insatiable curiosities of puppies, it is pretty certain that they will come in contact with various kinds of infections. A vaccination program is the only way puppies can be protected from distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza, rabies, leptospirosis and from other canine diseases. A puppy is born with a small degree of protection. This natural immunity against diseases is received from the mother. The mother dog though will only be able to transfer antibodies to the puppies if she has received vaccinations. Antibodies are transferred from the mother’s blood to the puppies through the placenta. Puppies will also receive antibodies from the colostrums the mother dog produces for the first two days after giving birth. This antibody-rich milk will provide the puppy with temporary protection against diseases. However, the amount of protection received from the mother’s antibodies will be depleted several weeks after the puppy is born. The maternally derived antibodies will decline up to the point where the dog will no longer be protected from diseases. Before the natural antibodies are fully depleted the puppy has to receive its first vaccination.

A weakened and harmless form of virus or bacteria that causes a particular disease will be introduced to the dog. This process is called vaccination. This procedure is designed to trigger an immune response. The introduction of attenuated virus and bacteria will result to the production of antibodies so that the immune system of the dog will be boost up and provide protection in the event of bacterial and viral attacks. When a specific disease is encountered, a protective response will be triggered to fight the “invaders”. Does this mean that the puppy will receive shot for each and every canine disease? No, that would be a lot of shots for the poor little puppy. Luckily for the pup, modern medicine has made possible the protection from no less than 5 canine diseases with just a single shot. This vaccination must be given before the natural immunization received by the puppy from the mother dog is fully depleted. A combination vaccine will be first administered when the puppy is about six to eight weeks of age. The first vaccination is for parvovirus, distemper, parainfluenza and adenovirus type 1 and 2. This initial shot will be followed by other shots every 3 to 4 weeks until the puppy is about four months in age. These succeeding shots will ensure that the puppy will have long term protection against the disease.

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