Beginning at age six weeks, all dogs should receive a series of core vaccines that will give them protection from parvovirus, distemper, canine flu, and two types of adenovirus, which is a form of hepatitis. Dogs and puppies in a home environment should receive an initial vaccine, then a booster every three to four weeks until sixteen weeks of age.
There is much debate about “overvaccinating” in animal welfare circles. We here at Tazewell ARC agree that there is some merit to this concern. Vaccines are potent biological agents—when given randomly and carelessly, they can be utterly useless or, on the other end of the spectrum, dangerous or even deadly. WE DO NOT RECOMMEND OTC VACCINES OBTAINED FROM FARM SUPPLY STORES UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Due to a high occurrence of mishandling during shipping, OTC vaccines have an astronomically high fail rate. Add to this the limited knowledge and experience most pet owners have with modified live vaccines, and there exists a likely recipe for disaster.
VETERINARIANS have extensive knowledge about animal immunology and biochemistry. They have a much more comprehensive understanding of passive immunity, and that the window of vaccine susceptibility is different in every litter, different even between individuals in a single litter. Veterinarians can also determine which animals are fit to receive a vaccine, and which ones are not healthy enough. Most importantly, they can also administer emergency medicine in the rare but not unheard of anaphylactic shock reaction that can occur in some animals.
At twelve weeks of age, puppies are required by Virginia state law to receive a RABIES vaccine. Adult dogs of any age are required to be current on rabies vaccination. This vaccine can only be administered by a veterinarian. It cannot be purchased or legally administered by any other individual. RABIES is a matter of PUBLIC SAFETY. It’s a zoonotic disease, meaning it’s transmissible from animal to human. And it is 100% FATAL.
Other vaccines available for your dog include bordatella (kennel cough,) lyme disease, coronavirus, and leptospirosis. Please note that immature immune systems should be shown as few new pathogens per vaccine as possible, which means that puppies should not receive “seven way” or “nine way” vaccine combos until quite late in their series of injections.