Vaccination and Parasites
*Consider which vaccination and parasite prevention program is suitable for you. There are many different protocols and none are 100% effective. Vaccination and parasite treatment does not guard against poor nutrition, obesity, poor grooming and overall care.
Puppy vaccination is crucial! Parvovirus emerged in the 1970’s and is highly painful and fatal to young dogs especially. It is simply not worth risking not vaccinating your puppy. Some breeds such as Dobermans and Rottweilers are more susceptible to parvovirus.
A C3 vaccination needs to be given at 6 - 8 weeks of age. A follow-up C5 vaccination needs to be given at 10 - 12 weeks. The 3rd and final C5 needs to be given at 14 - 16 weeks. Worming treatment needs to be given from 6 weeks of age and recommendations on dosing need to be followed but differ between products.
Vaccination - Why So Many Needles?
This is to ensure effective protection whilst your pup is growing and the immune system is deceloping. It is best not to take any chances when the risk of deadly virus infection is greatest.
A C3 - the first needle contains vaccine against deadly parvovirus, hepatitis and distemper.
A C5 - the second and third needles are the same as a C3 but they also contain protection against kennel cough and bordetella bronchiseptica. These affect the lungs and respiratory tract and can be physically devastating to a young puppy.
The young puppy is incredibly vulnerable to disease and parasites. They need to be given every protection possible until their immune systems are strong enough to protect themselves. This means strict house confinement until 1 week after the 3rd needle, usually until 15 - 17 weeks of age. This is the safest policy but most people cannot wait that long. The puppy is also straining to get out into the world.
If you are going to take the risk (it is highly ill advised you do!) - do not go to dog parks and dog saturated areas. Avoid contact with unvaccinated unfamiliar dogs. Also, avoid playing/exercising your pup to complete exhaustion. This makes them vulnerable to infection as intense exercise lowers the white blood cell count temporarily.
Heartworm - A Serious Health Risk
It is a worm that lives in the heart of dogs and sometimes cats. Interestingly, it is carried by mosquitoes as a microscopic larva. Mosquitoes transfer the larvae when they feed on the blood of dogs. The larvae travel through the dog’s bloodstream and lodge in the chambers of the heart. They grow quite large and cause damage and enlargement to the heart muscle and eventually heart failure. The best way to prevent heartworm infestation in your pet is to use a yearly injection under the skin. Alternatively a spot-on application to the skin every month to 3 months is also effective. The heartworm needle is quite large and can cause pain on injection. There is nothing that can be done about this because the solution is quite thick as it is oil based. For this reason, some clients including myself prefer spot on application where the solution penetrates the skin through absorption.
Intestinal Worms - What Are They?
Tapeworms, whipworms and roundworms. They look exactly like their names imply, though are not deadly unless in large numbers and if your dog is starved or in poor health due to other disease. They are all equally disgusting! It is best to avoid them entirely through administering oral worming tablets or spot-ons. I prefer a multi-function spot on that does worms, fleas and heartworm.