Puppies: Vaccine and Titre Tests

October 06, 2014

Getting a new puppy is very exiting experience. First veterinary visits are a very crucial part of your puppy's health and development. Puppies usually enjoy their visit to Pandosy Village Veterinary Hospital, where they get lots of treats and cuddles from the staff. For your family, the first visit is a great chance to get to know your veterinarian, and for Dr. Jason to learn about your family's approach to caring for your best friend. 

Generally your puppy should be first examined when they come home from the breeder or shelter. It is important at this stage for a veterinarian to assess the overall health of your new furry friend; any diseases or illnesses that may be lurking underneath the surface can be caught early. Round worms that puppies tend to have in their bellies passed down by their mothers can be treated, and vaccinations for dangerous and debilitating diseases can be administered.

At Pandosy Village Veterinary Hospital, we recommend vaccinating puppies in a way that is easiest on their immune system, while protecting them against harmful diseases. This care includes spacing out vaccines. When they are past the puppy stage, then Dr. Jason works with pet parents to create a custom, tailored vaccine schedule that takes into account your lifestyle, and your family's approach to vaccinations.

A puppy series of vaccines ideally starts at 8 weeks of age. This is when your dog will be exploring the environment around them and will be more vulnerable to pick up viruses along this learning path. The initial puppy vaccine helps stimulate the immune system to ‘’remember’’ the diseases such as distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus and parainfluenza so that when your dog encounters them in the future their immune system knows how to properly fight back.

When a puppy is with their mother they gain antibodies in their mothers milk that help prevent certain diseases. However, in some cases, these antibodies can fight against the vaccines themselves which is why puppy vaccines should be repeated at 12 and 16 weeks of age. We recommended that if a rabies vaccine is to be given, that it be administered 2 weeks after the final puppy vaccine, in this case when your dog is 18 weeks of age. This spacing reduces stress on the puppy's immune system.

It is important to let Dr. Jason know of any travelling you will be doing or if you plan on visiting a boarding facility or dog parks in the near future. For example, kennelling facilities, dog daycares, or boarding facilities may require proof of bordetella vaccine. This helps to protect your dog from a upper respiratory condition caused by the bordetella bronchiseptica virus which is highly contagious and produces a dry hacking cough in your dog lasting approximately two to three weeks.  Other families often cross the border, and US border patroller require proof of rabies vaccination.

In consultation with your family, Dr. Jason will tailor a vaccine schedule that takes both your puppy's lifestyle and health into account. 

Vaccines are usually boosted one year after their last puppy vaccination. They will be given a booster of distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza and infectious hepatitis, as well as rabies and bordetella if necessary. Again, we try to space out these vaccinations. After this yearly booster, most vaccines are given every three years (exception bordetella.)

An alternative option to re-vaccinating your newly adult dog is titer testing. A small blood sample will be taken and the blood will be tested for any residual antibodies that may be left in your dogs blood from their previous vaccines. The tests will let us know if your dog has enough antibodies present to fight of an offensive attack of any of the vaccinated illnesses, or if they should be revaccinated again.

At Pandosy Village Veterinary Hospital we have in-house titer testing for the Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus and Parainfluenza vaccine. A titer can be done for the rabies vaccine but it is sent to an outside laboratory for examination and testing. 

To help make this the easiest transition for your puppy it is very important to give them a slow and gradual exposure at their own pace. At Pandosy Village Veterinary Hospital we allot a prolonged exam time of forty minutes to get to know your new puppy, tailor the best vaccination protocol for your family, and address any behavioural or health concerns you may have as a new owner. 

We look forward to getting to know your new puppy, and supporting you as you make health decisions for your dog over the years. Please feel free to pop by to the Pounce & Hound store with your new pup, or make an appointment to see Dr. Jason.


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