What is a vaccine?
A vaccine is a preparation designed to provide protection against a specific infectious disease through stimulating an immune response that will protect the animal if it is subsequently exposed to the infection.
When should vaccinations start?
Newborn puppies receive maternal antibodies by taking in the ‘first milk’, or colostrum from the mother. These maternal antibodies are absorbed during the first 24 hours of life and provide immune protection from many infectious diseases during the first weeks of life whilst their own immune system is becoming established. This maternally derived protection will decline over time and it is important that puppies are vaccinated to allow their own immune system to respond and protect them from disease. The puppy vaccination courses usually start from 6-8 weeks of age.
Why give repeat vaccinations?
Immunity can decline over time and to maintain optimal protection, regular booster vaccinations of adult dogs are required.
After vaccination care
Side effects after vaccination are uncommon and if they do occur they are usually mild (e.g. lethargy, inappetence or tenderness at the injection site) and usually last no longer than a few days. If you are concerned about any signs which develop after vaccination, contact your veterinarian immediately.
When should my puppy have a veterinary check?
Your puppy’s first booster may be due a year after the initial course, at approximately 15 months of age (depending on which vaccination program your veterinarian is using). However, a veterinary check before this (at say, 7 to 10 months) is advisable. Small adjustments to the daily routine at this time may help to prevent problems becoming established later in life.
Your vet will keep a record of your pet’s vaccinations and may give you a vaccination certificate or ‘vaccination book’ containing the details of each vaccine administered and the date given. It is signed by the veterinarian as a permanent record and is required as proof of your pet’s vaccination history when going to kennels or shows.