Vaccinating Puppies and Older Dogs
There is currently some confusion surrounding the issue of vaccinations for puppies and older dogs. The following outlines my views on the matter, and contains some links to information pages on other websites. Please note that I am not a vet, and my information about this is gained purely from my own reading.
The traditional vaccination schedule for puppies started with a first needle at 6 weeks, then one at 10-12 weeks after the pup has gone to its new home. Then there's the booster a year after the 8 week needle, then you get the regular reminder from your vet to vaccinate every year to protect your dog. This has now been shown to be ineffective and unnecessary.
First of all, think about it this way: as a child of about 2, I was vaccinated against Smallpox (lucky for you they don't need to do that any more - it was apparently very painful). The understanding was that it was a lifetime vaccination, and by doing this, Smallpox has been virtually eradicated. Now, girls in their mid-teens are vaccinated against the virus that causes Cervical Cancer, and this is considered to be a lifetime vaccination. So why is it that we think it's necessary to re-vaccinate our dogs every year? Because it's good for vets, that's why ! !
Current research in Europe and the USA indicates that dogs may still be resistant to some vaccinated diseases up to 10 years after their last vaccination. This is a lifetime vaccination for some breeds. For safety's sake, however, American vets are suggesting that it's perfectly ok to leave at least 3 years between vaccinations. Australian vets are only just catching on to this, which is why some of you may have been sent a note from your vet telling you there's a "new" 3 year vaccine available. There is no new vaccine, it's the same old C3 we've always used, but now vets are recognising that yearly vaccination is neither necessary nor desirable. The same research into vaccination is also now showing that 6 weeks is way too early to be giving a puppy its first vaccination. 6 week old pups still carry a lot of their mother's antibodies from her milk supply, and the presence of these maternal antibodies in the puppy's bloodstream will stop his body correctly making his own antibodies from the vaccination. If we leave it until 10 weeks of age and more than 3 weeks after weaning, the maternal antibodies have cleared from the puppy's system, and the one vaccination will work. We may be wasting money giving a vaccination any earlier than 10 weeks, and we are certainly giving the pups more chemicals than they need to have. Progressive vets are now suggesting the following schedule:
first puppy needle: 10 weeks
adult "booster": 15 months
then no further vaccinations required for at least 3 years.
One of the issues related to the early vaccination of puppies, especially Italian
Greyhounds, is the strong possibility of inducing a form of Auto-Immune Disease later in life. While there is no one scientific study to show a link between too-early vaccination and later Auto-Immune Disease, there is enough circumstantial evidence to suggest that later vaccination is a better option. For this reason, I will not vaccinate any of my puppies prior to 10 weeks of age, and therefore no puppy can leave my house earlier than 12 weeks of age. Yes, I know puppy buyers really want to have a cute young baby to take home, but is it worth the risk? I don't think so.
Have a read of these, and make up your own mind about future vaccinations for your dog. There are plenty more websites like these below - try Googling "vaccinations for dogs" and read as much as you can.