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Puppy Vaccination Basics

May 01, 2016

Are you new to dog ownership? If you’ve recently adopted a puppy, one of the best things you can do for your new pet’s health is have him vaccinated. Here, your Cambrian, CA veterinary professional goes over the basics of vaccines for puppies.

How Exactly Do Vaccines Work?

A vaccine works by introducing a small, virtually harmless strain of a disease (called an antigen) to your dog’s immune system. Your dog’s system responds by developing antibodies to that particular disease. This way, your pup’s body is prepared to recognize, fight off, or at least reduce the symptoms of that disease if the real thing ever afflicts your dog.

What Vaccinations Does My Puppy Need?

All puppies should be given the core vaccinations at a young age; usually, they’re administered together in a batch sometime between six and 16 weeks of age. The core vaccinations are considered essential for all dogs thanks to the dangerous and/or contagious nature of the diseases they protect against. The batch of core vaccines most often includes those that protect against distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, calicivirus, parainfluenza, and rabies.

Some puppies also receive what are known as non-core vaccines. As the name implies, these vaccines aren’t considered necessary for every dog, but may benefit some. It all depends on your pup’s exposure risk, environment and location, pre-existing conditions, and other factors. An example of a non-core vaccine is the Bordetella vaccine, which protects against kennel cough. It may be especially useful for pups who will be commonly boarded.

Do These Vaccines Need Booster Shots?

Most vaccines do require booster shots, yes. Some require yearly shots, while some—like the rabies vaccine, for instance—may only require boosters in longer intervals of several years. Check with your veterinarian to get the exact schedule for your pooch’s booster shots; many times, dog owners have their pup’s vaccines updated as a part of their normal bi-annual checkups.

Are Vaccines Legally Required?

This depends on the particular regulations in your area and on the vaccines themselves. The rabies vaccine, for instance, is legally required in almost all areas to maintain public safety. Ask your vet for more specifics.

How Do I Get Started?

Do you have further questions about the vaccination process? Are you ready to have your pet vaccinated to provide a lifetime of great health? Make an appointment today at your Cambrian, CA animal hospital—we’re here to help!