While the addition of a new furry friend to the family is undoubtedly an exciting and momentous occasion, it can also be a bit stressful. Unfortunately, new puppies do not come with a user manual. However, your local veterinarian can help to provide you with the knowledge to make the right decisions for your family.
If you adopted your puppy through an adoption agency or breeder, they may have already started vaccinations on an every other week schedule. But when your puppy arrives at their forever home and is no longer in contact with many other dogs, a different vaccination schedule may be started.
A conventional vaccine booster timeline looks something like this:
8 week appointment – Distemper vaccine, bordetella vaccine
12 week appointment – Distemper vaccine, lepto vaccine
16 week appointment – Distemper vaccine, lepto vaccine, rabies vaccine
Puppies receive antibodies from their mother through her milk. These antibodies do not allow the vaccines to cause the immune response of their own antibody production, so vaccines given at 6-15 weeks of age only last a limited amount of time. At 16 weeks of age, there are no maternal antibodies left in the bloodstream, so vaccines given at this age provide immunity for 1 year. Please discuss the best vaccine booster schedule for your puppy with your veterinarian.
Intestinal parasites such as whipworms, hookworms, tapeworms and roundworms can be tested for in a fecal sample, then specific deworming medications will be given if the sample tests positive. Your puppy will most likely have been given a broad spectrum dewormer at 2-6 weeks of age. At 8 weeks it is a good idea to start on heartworm prevention, some of which are paired with a broad spectrum dewormer. These are typically monthly oral or topical treatments.