Why is it important for my puppy to get vaccinated? What vaccinations does he need?
Vaccines stimulate the body to form antibodies to fight certain viral diseases that can cause serious and potentially life threatening diseases. There is great debate which vaccines are essential and how often should they be given. Core, or essential, vaccines for puppies as recommended by the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) are DA2PP and Rabies vaccines.
DA2PP is a vaccine that protects against several important viruses including Distemper and Parvovirus. Distemper causes respiratory and neurologic signs while Parvo manifests as a severe gastrointesinal disease. Puppies are very susceptible to these viruses. There needs to be a series of vaccines beginning around 8 weeks and repeated every 3 weeks until 16 weeks. At 16 months it is renewed and then again every 3 years. All dogs should receive this important vaccination.
Rabies is a fatal virus that attacks the nervous system and brain that can affect all mammals including humans. It is required by state law to be given to all dogs at 16 weeks in California, repeated at 16 months, and then every 3 years after that. Although cats can also become infected with Rabies, vaccination against Rabies is not a required for cats in California.
Two common Non-Core vaccines are Leptospirosis and Bordetella (Kennel Cough). Whether a puppy needs these vaccines depend on their lifestyle and risks factors which should be discussed at the puppy’s wellness examination by your family’s veterinarian.