Why 6 to 8 weeks?
We start our early puppy vaccinations as early as possible to allow new puppies to socialise and provide on-going protection against potentially fatal conditions at one of the most critical periods of your pet’s life. Initial puppy immunity is provided by their mother’s milk but this starts to wane by 6 to 8 weeks.
This provides us with a start date to provide immunity to puppies as the mother’s immunity subsides. This vaccination will often have already been given by the breeder or pet shop. Mother immunity is transferred to the new puppies by the first milk (colostrum) in the form of protective antibodies. The ability of female dogs to pass this on will depend on their own health status and also on their previous vaccinations and immune memory. The ability for the puppies to get this immunity will depend on their health status as well as receiving that essential early colostrum milk usually in the first 1 to 2 days of a puppy’s life.
Vaccination at 10 to 12 weeks at the vets for your new puppy:
The early 6 to 8 week protection starts to wane by 10 to 12 weeks below the so called “protective levels” due to the neutralising effect of mother immunity and this is when we give our second vaccination. At this visit we perform a very important vet check of your new puppy and discuss topics from vaccines to worming, microchipping, heartworm, tick and flea protection, diet care, insurance options, training tips and puppy preschool.
Vaccine at 16 weeks of age until first annual booster at approximately 15 months (12 months after this visit):
Most puppies will be provided by protection by the 10 to 12 week vaccination. However as all puppies will vary in their ability to develop immunity we repeat the vaccination at 16 weeks to provide reassurance for you and protection should either their immune system not respond fully to the 10 to 12 week vaccine or their mothers immunity still interferes with development of a strong immune response. It is generally accepted that mother’s immunity will no longer interfere with protection and immunity at 16 weeks.
This provides us with another good opportunity to check your puppy over and check all the other important care is up to date.