There are many viruses that can make puppies sick and some are even fatal. Nursing puppies get antibodies from their mother’s milk (maternal antibodies) that protect them from disease for the first few months of life, these antibodies begin to gradually decrease when the puppy reaches a few months of age. To protect the puppy’s health, incremental shots are administered to replace the lost protection. We've listed some of the main puppy vaccinations and preventative medications below.
Important: To determine which vaccinations and preventative medications will work best for you and your pets, check with your local veterinarian. Just Puppies recommends the following vets in Towson and Montgomery County, MD:
Family Pets Hospital: (410) 529-7297
Owings Mills Animal & Bird Hospital: (410) 363-0393
VCA Animal Hospital at Centre Park: (410) 955-9077
VCA North Rockville Animal Hospital: (301) 340-9292
DA2PP (Adenovirus, Distemper, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus)
- Begin vaccinations at 6-8 weeks of age.
- Continued every 2-3 weeks until 17-18 weeks of age.
- Given yearly after initial puppy series.
Adenovirus: Adenoviruses are known as Type 1 or Type 2 and cause liver or respiratory disease, respectively. Adult dogs are often able to recover from this virus, but it is fatal in many puppies. The respiratory form is a minor contributor to kennel cough. The liver disease (hepatitis) is spread by infected urine or feces. Signs include fever and diarrhea, and the virus damages the liver, kidneys, eyes, and blood vessels.
Distemper: Canine distemper is a very prevalent, highly contagious disease of dogs that can be spread by contact with mucous and watery secretions discharged from the eyes and nose of infected dogs. Infection may also occur from exposure to urine, fecal material and through the air. Signs of distemper include squinting, congestion of the eyes, weight loss, vomiting, nasal discharge, poor appetite and sometimes diarrhea. In some cases, no signs are observed until seizures begin.
Parainfluenza: Parainfluenza causes respiratory disease in adult dogs, which can be quite severe in young puppies. It is considered to be a minor contributor to kennel cough. Signs include mild fever, nasal discharge, reddened tonsils, and a harsh, non-productive cough.
Parvovirus (CPV): This highly contagious virus is transmitted by oral contact with infected feces. The virus can survive in the environment for long periods of time and can be transmitted on toys, bowls, and clothing, as well as in the soil. For this reason, prevention of exposure is almost impossible. The signs of disease are seen approximately 5 days after exposure and include: severe, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, high fever, lethargy, depression and loss of appetite are all characterized by CPV. Please note that many infected dogs may not show every clinical sign however, vomiting and diarrhea are most commonly seen. The diarrhea is particularly foul smelling and is sometimes yellow in color. Puppies less than five (5) months of age are often the most severely affected and the most difficult to treat. The surest way to avoid CPV in your dog is to adhere to the recommended vaccination schedule. Also, until a puppy has received its complete series of vaccinations, pet owners should use caution when bringing their pet to areas where young puppies congregate (e.g.: parks, puppy classes, obedience classes, doggy daycare, and grooming establishments). Finally, do not allow your puppy or dog to come into contact with the fecal waste of other dogs while walking or playing outdoors and prompt and proper disposal of waste material is always advisable as a way to limit spread of canine parvovirus infection.
- Given once when puppy is older than 12 weeks of age.
- First booster given at one year of age.
- Given every 1 to 3 years (depending on state laws after initial 1-year booster).
In all states, law requires all dogs to be up to date on their rabies vaccinations. This virus is a threat to all warm-blooded animals, including humans. Rabies is spread by bites or scratches (blood or saliva) of affected animals, and attacks the nervous system tissue (brain and spinal cord). Any animal affected by or suspected to have rabies must be euthanized for testing. Because rabies is fatal to humans, unvaccinated animals may be required to be euthanized
- Series of two vaccinations given 2-3 weeks apart.
- Yearly booster given.
A bacteria-like organism, called Borrelia burgdorferi, causes Lyme disease. A bloodsucking agent, usually a tick, transfers these organisms from host to host. Lyme disease is highly prevalent on the east coast and the ticks that carry Lyme disease can be found in the woods as well as in our backyards. Signs of Lyme disease include lethargy, joint pain and swelling and lameness. More serious signs include kidney failure and heart problems. Due to the fact that symptoms may remain hidden in the early stages of the disease, it is important to have your dog tested yearly for exposure. The vaccination for Lyme disease is not 100% effective, and it is therefore recommended that it be used in conjunction with a tick prevention product.
- Given to puppies that will be going to a groomer, attending obedience classes, being boarded, or anywhere they will be exposed to large numbers of dogs.
- Given yearly
- Series of two vaccinations given 2-3 weeks apart.
- Yearly booster given.
Canine influenza is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by a specific Type A influenza virus referred to as a “canine influenza virus.” This is a disease of dogs, not of humans. Canine influenza virus can be spread by direct contact with aerosolized respiratory secretions from infected dogs, by contact with contaminated objects, and by people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. Therefore, dog owners whose dogs are coughing or showing other signs of respiratory disease should not participate in activities or bring their dogs to facilities where other dogs can be exposed to the virus. Clothing, equipment, surfaces, and hands should be cleaned and disinfected after exposure to dogs showing signs of respiratory disease.
Fleas and ticks can cause a host of problems for your dog, from flea allergy dermatitis to Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. In large enough amounts, both fleas and ticks can cause dangerous amounts of blood loss and even death, especially in young animals. To find out what is the best product for you and your pet, check with your local veterinarian.
Canine heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition caused by parasitic worms living in the arteries of the lungs and in the right side of the heart. Mosquitoes spread the heartworm infection, when a mosquito "bites" an infected dog, it takes up blood, which may contain microscopic immature forms of heartworms called microfilariae. The microfilariae incubate in the mosquito for about two weeks, during which they become infective larvae. Then, when the mosquito bites another dog, the infective larvae are passed into the second dog, infecting it. The infective larvae migrate through the tissues of the body for about three months, and then enter the heart where they reach adult size in another three months. As you might expect, heartworm infection is more common in areas where mosquitoes are numerous, and outdoor dogs constantly exposed to mosquitoes are the most frequent victims. To prevent heartworms, a blood test is taken by your veterinarian to determine that your dog is not already infected. If the blood test is negative, there are a variety of options for preventing heartworms, including daily and monthly tablets and chewables, and monthly topicals.. While treatment of canine heartworm disease is usually successful, prevention of the disease is much safer and more economical.