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Issue 2 - Vaccinations

Take the time to read the following - even if you are a savvy dog owner, some of this may not have come to mind and/or are good reminders.  Please note that many suggestions are Leo specific! 

Vaccinations (discuss with your selected vet)


  • Your puppy will need their next round of shots at 10 wks, 13 wks, and 16wks…for a total of 4 DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parvo, para-influenza) shots.  By giving shots every 3 wks you limit the window of susceptibility.  The rabies vaccine is usually given at the age of 4 months (16wks).  But please stagger this from the other shots and do not give at the same time.  You also need to be aware of whatever other shots might be needed for your area, such as Lyme, Lepto, etc.  Consult your vet.

More Info - Understanding why vaccinations are important

  • The vaccination of puppies (puppy shots) is one of the crucial steps in assuring the puppy will have a healthy and happy puppyhood. The who, what, why, when, where, and how of vaccinations are complicated, and may vary from puppy to puppy. Always consult with your veterinarian to determine which vaccines are appropriate for your puppy. To better understand vaccines, it is important to understand how the puppy is protected from disease in the first few weeks of its life.

  • Protection from the mother (maternal antibodies)

    • A newborn puppy is not naturally immune to diseases. However, it does have some antibody protection which is derived from its mother's milk. 98% of the puppy's immunity is from antibodies derived from the first milk. This is the milk produced around the time of birth. This antibody-rich milk is called colostrum. The puppy does not continue to receive antibodies through its mother's milk. It only absorbs antibodies from colostrum for 12-24 hours after birth. All antibodies derived from the mother are called maternal antibodies. It must be noted that the puppy will only receive antibodies against diseases for which the mother had been recently vaccinated against or exposed to. As an example, a mother that had NOT been vaccinated against or exposed to parvovirus, would not have any antibodies against parvovirus to pass along to her puppies. The puppies then would be susceptible to developing a parvovirus infection.

  • Window of susceptibility

    • The age at which puppies can effectively be immunized (protected) is proportional to the amount of antibodies the puppy received from its mother. High levels of maternal antibodies present in the puppies' bloodstream will block the effectiveness of a vaccine. When the maternal antibodies drop to a low enough level in the puppy, immunization by a commercial vaccine will work.

    • The antibodies from the mother generally circulate in the newborn's blood for a number of weeks. There is a period of time from several days to several weeks in which the maternal antibodies are too low to provide protection against the disease, but too high to allow a vaccine to work. This period is called the window of susceptibility. This is the time when despite being vaccinated, a puppy or kitten can still contract the disease.

  • When should puppies be vaccinated?

    • The length and timing of the window of susceptibility are different in every litter, and even between individuals in a litter. A study of a cross-section of different puppies showed that the age at which they were able to respond to a vaccine and develop protection (become immunized) covered a wide period of time. At six weeks of age, 25% of the puppies could be immunized.

    • At 9 weeks of age, 40% of the puppies were able to respond to the vaccine. The number increased to 60% by 16 weeks of age, and by 18 weeks, 95% of the puppies were protected by the vaccine.

Deworming and Heartworm

  • Your puppy was dewormed at 21 days of age, and every 2wks thereafter, with Panacur as well as Toltrazuril (if there were any potential issues with coccidia).  

  • They will need to have their first heartworm preventative as soon as they have their first vet checkup.  You will need to continue with this every month.  I use Sentinel Spectrum which also helps with fleas. I believe another good one is Trifexis.  

Understanding Why
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