Puppies should NOT be vaccinated at LESS than 8-9 weeks but since most puppies go home at 8 weeks old most breeders will give them their first vaccines some starting as early as 6 weeks taking the choice to wait out of the new owners hands. This is something you should talk to your breeder about if you want them to wait. Maternal immunity lasts until 8-14 weeks of age, so being vaccinated at 6 weeks will neutralize the vaccine and only give (0-38%) protection.
Vaccination at 6 weeks will also delay the timing of the first highly effective vaccine.
- Vaccinating puppies less than 4-5 weeks of age, especially with modified live vaccines, can cause severe problems.
- Vaccinations given 2 weeks apart suppress rather than stimulate the immune system.
- Dogs no longer need to be vaccinated against distemper and parvo every year. Once the initial series of puppy vaccinations and first annual vaccinations are completed, immunity from modified live virus (MLV) vaccines persists for life.
Three series of vaccinations may be given starting at 8-9 weeks, given 4 weeks apart, to about 16 weeks of age. Another vaccination given sometime after 6 months of age (usually at 1 year 4 mo) will provide a lifetime of immunity.
Vaccinations do not need “boosting”
Studies have shown that a single vaccination for parvovirus, distemper and panleukopenia results in long-term protection from disease. Simple blood tests can determine if your companion’s antibody levels for parvovirus and distemper remain high enough to resist infection. Next time your veterinarian suggests a booster shot, request the blood test first. (Rabies may be required by law every three years. Check the regulations in your state.)
Dr. Jean Dodds’ – Recommended Vaccination Schedule
|Vaccine||Initial||1st Annual Booster||Re-Administration Interval||Comments|
(e.g. Intervet Progard Puppy)
16 – 20 weeks
|At 1 year MLV Distemper/ Parvovirus only||None needed.
Duration of immunity 7.5 / 15 years by studies. Probably lifetime. Longer studies pending.
|Can have numerous side effects if given too young (< 8 weeks).|
(e.g. Intervet Progard Puppy)
16 – 20 weeks
|At 1 year MLV Distemper/ Parvovirus only||None needed.
Duration of immunity 7.5 years by studies. Probably lifetime. Longer studies pending.
|At 6 weeks of age, only 30% of puppies are protected but 100% are exposed to the virus at the vet clinic.|
|24 weeks or older||At 1 year (give 3-4 weeks apart from Dist/Parvo booster) Killed 3 year rabies vaccine||3 yr. vaccine given as required by law in California (follow your state/provincial requirements)||rabid animals may infect dogs.|
|Vaccines Not Recommended For Dogs|
|Distemper & Parvo @ 6 weeks or younger||Not recommended.
At this age, maternal antibodies form the mothers milk (colostrum) will neutralize the vaccine and only 30% for puppies will be protected. 100% will be exposed to the virus at the vet clinic.
1.) Disease only affects dogs <6 weeks of age.
2.) Rare disease: TAMU has seen only one case in seven years.
3.) Mild self-limiting disease.
4.) Efficacy of the vaccine is questionable.
1) There are an average of 12 cases reported annually in California.
2) Side effects common.
3) Most commonly used vaccine contains the wrong serovars. (There is no cross-protection of serovars) There is a new vaccine with 2 new serovars. Two vaccinations twice per year would be required for protection.).
4) Risk outweighs benefits.
1) Low risk in California.
2) 85% of cases are in 9 New England states and Wisconsin.
3) Possible side effect of polyarthritis from whole cell bacterin.
|Only recommended 3 days prior to boarding when required.
Protects against 2 of the possible 8 causes of kennel cough.
Duration of immunity 6 months.
Efficacy of vaccine unsubstantiated by independent studies
Note: There are two types of vaccines currently available to veterinarians: modified-live
vaccines and inactivated (“killed”) vaccines.
Dr. Dodds considers infectious canine hepatitis (adenovirus-1), canine adenovirus-2, bordetella, canine influenza, canine coronavirus, leptospirosis, and Lyme regional and situational. Please research the prevalence in your area, and discuss it with your veterinarian.
There is a great deal of controversy and confusion surrounding the appropriate immunization schedule, especially with the availability of modified-live vaccines and breeders who have experienced post vaccinal problems when using some of these vaccines. It is also important to not begin a vaccination program while maternal antibodies are still active and present in the puppy from the mother’s colostrum. The maternal antibodies identify the vaccines as infectious organisms and destroy them before they can stimulate an immune response.
Many breeders and owners have sought a safer immunization program.
Modified Live Vaccines (MLV)
Modified-live vaccines contain a weakened strain of the disease causing agent. Weakening of the agent is typically accomplished by chemical means or by genetic engineering. These vaccines replicate within the host, thus increasing the
amount of material available for provoking an immune response without inducing clinical illness. This provocation primes the immune system to mount a vigorous response if the disease causing agent is ever introduced to the animal. Further, the immunity provided by a modified-live vaccine develops rather swiftly and since they mimic infection with the actual disease agent, it provides the best immune response.
Inactivated Vaccines (Killed)
Inactivated vaccines contain killed disease causing agents. Since the agent is killed, it is much more stable and has a longer shelf life, there is no possibility that they will revert to a virulent form, and they never spread from the vaccinated host to other animals. They are also safe for use in pregnant animals (a developing fetus may be susceptible to damage by some of the disease agents, even though attenuated, present in modified-live vaccines). Although more than a single dose of vaccine is always required and the duration of immunity is generally shorter, inactivated vaccines are regaining importance in this age of retrovirus and herpes virus infections and concern about the safety of genetically modified microorganisms. Inactivated vaccines available for use in dogs include rabies, canine parvovirus, canine coronavirus, etc.
After 1 year, annually measure serum antibody titers against specific canine infectious agents such as distemper and parvovirus. This is especially recommended for animals previously experiencing adverse vaccine reactions or breeds at higher risk for such reactions (e.g., Weimaraner, Akita, American Eskimo, Great Dane).
Another alternative to booster vaccinations is homeopathic nosodes. This option is considered an unconventional treatment that has not been scientifically proven to be efficacious. One controlled parvovirus nosode study did not adequately protect puppies under challenged conditions. However, data from Europe and clinical experience in North America support its use. If veterinarians choose to use homeopathic nosodes, their clients should be provided with an appropriate disclaimer and written informed consent should be obtained.
What Is A Nosode?
In homeopathy, there is a special type of remedy called a nosode. A nosode (from nosos, the Greek word meaning disease) is a homeopathic preparation made from matter from a sick animal or person. Substances such as respiratory discharges or diseased tissues are used. It sounds repulsive, but the preparation, using alcohol, as well as the repeated dilution and succussion, essentially renders the substances harmless, while producing a powerful remedy. The use of nosodes in a prophylactic manner, for preventing disease, has been employed in veterinary and human homeopathy for many years. It is supported by various holistic veterinarians and authors.
I use only killed 3 year rabies vaccine for adults and give it separated from other vaccines by 3-4 weeks. In some states, they may be able to give titer test result in lieu of booster.
I do NOT use Bordetella, corona virus, leptospirosis or Lyme vaccines unless these diseases are endemic in the local area or specific kennel. Furthermore, the currently licensed leptospira bacterins do not contain the serovars causing the majority of clinical leptospirosis today.
I do NOT recommend vaccinating bitches during estrus, pregnancy or lactation.
Note by W. Jean Dodds, DVM – HEMOPET: This vaccine schedule is the one I recommend and should not be interpreted to mean that other protocols recommended by a veterinarian would be less satisfactory. It’s a matter of professional judgment and choice. For breeds or families of dogs susceptible to or affected with immune dysfunction, immune-mediated disease, immune-reactions associated with vaccinations, or autoimmune endocrine disease (e.g., thyroiditis, Addison’s or Cushing’s disease, diabetes, etc.) the above protocol is recommended.
Written by Dr. W. Jean Dodds
Dr. Jean Dodds.: W. Jean Dodds, DVM – HEMOPET
Printable Titer forms and instructions for testing: http://www.itsfortheanimals.com/HEMOPET.HTM
Another Great post I recommend on Vaccines and Your Dog is: “Vaccinosis – Do Your Research Before You Vaccinate! by Ed Frawley“.
2013 and 2014 Vaccination Protocol
Note: The following vaccine protocol is offered for those dogs where minimal vaccinations are advisable or desirable. The schedule is one Dr. Dodds recommends and should not be interpreted to mean that other protocols recommended by a veterinarian would be less satisfactory. It’s a matter of professional judgment and choice.
9-10 Weeks Old:
Distemper + Parvovirus, MLV (e.g. Merck Nobivac [Intervet Progard] Puppy DPV)
Same as above
20 Weeks or Older (if allowable by law):
Distemper + Parvovirus, MLV (optional = titer)
1 Year after the initial dose:
Rabies, killed 3-year product (give 3-4 weeks apart from distemper/parvovirus booster)
Perform vaccine antibody titers for distemper and parvovirus every three years thereafter, or more often, if desired.
Vaccinate for rabies virus according to the law, except where circumstances indicate that a written waiver needs to be obtained from the primary care veterinarian. In that case, a rabies antibody titer can also be performed to accompany the waiver request. See the Rabies Challenge Fund website.
W. Jean Dodds, DVM
Hemopet / NutriScan
11561 Salinaz Avenue
Garden Grove, CA 92843