Dog Vaccinations: Myth v. Fact
Myth: A 9-way shot is better than a 5-way for all dogs.
Fact: A 9-way shot includes Lepto (Leptospirosis or Leptospira Bacterin) and should not be given to small breeds or puppies under 12 weeks. In truth, if your dog is not likely to be in the presence of wild animals, there is no need for the Lepto, and the danger it presents is not worth the risk. If unsure, contact your veterinarian.
Myth: Your puppy’s first shots should be given at 6-8 weeks.
Fact: Many vets now believe that if every puppy were vaccinated against Parvo (Canine Parvovirus or CPv or Pv) at around 4 weeks old, this disease could be eradicated entirely over time. A follow-up with a 5-way vaccine should be given 3-4 weeks later and again 3-4 weeks after that. (After 12 weeks, you may decide to switch to a 9-way. See above.) Puppies under 16 weeks should have at least 3 rounds and then one annually thereafter.
Myth: My breeder gave my puppy all of his/her shots.
Fact: If you got your puppy at less than 16 weeks old, it is highly unlikely. Even if you got your pup at more than 16 weeks, there is room for doubt. If you are not 100% positive, give at least one round. Better safe than sorry.
Myth: Some brands of Parvo vaccine (or other vaccines) don’t work or are dangerous.
Fact: When vaccinating any animal (including humans) it is important to note that the incubation period can be as long as 2-4 weeks, thus optimum protection cannot be achieved before then. In truth, immunity is built up over long periods and any dog younger than a year is at risk. If a dog seems to have contracted a disease shortly after being vaccinated, the animal most likely already had the disease. Even a dog with all of the recommended vaccinations could contract a disease. Nothing is 100% effective; there are too many variables at play.
And there are other dangers; as with anything that we put into (or on) our bodies, there are possible side-effects. With injections, some possibilities include swelling, redness and hair loss around the area. You should consult your veterinarian before any new treatment or prevention program. You should contact your veterinarian at the first sign of an adverse reaction or symptom of disease, regardless of vaccination history.
More Straight Facts and Tips about Vaccines
- All vaccines have to be shipped at some point. Our standard method of shipping is in an insulated envelope with one ice pack. This is acceptable for most areas at most times of year*. The ice packs will melt but they have done their job of not allowing the vaccine to get too hot, which undermines the efficacy.
- Keep all vaccines and biologicals refrigerated until time to use them.
- Never freeze a vaccine or biological.
- In warmer weather and climates, it is suggested that vaccines and biologicals be shipped Next Day Air to avoid the possibility of overheating. A cooler and/or extra ice packs can also be purchased with biologicals for added protection.
- All of our handling protocols are based on advice from manufacturers, professional consultation, and rigorous internal control procedures.
- Rabies vaccination should be administered at 3 months of age. A large number of states do not allow the sale of Rabies vaccines to private individuals or the shipping of Rabies vaccines into the state. Many states and counties do not recognize an animal as being vaccinated unless it is done by a veterinary professional. Please check your local laws before you purchase or administer a Rabies vaccination.
- While many studies have shown that a rabies vaccination can remain effective in the body for many years, some states do require vaccination every year. Please check your local laws.
* Most vaccine manufacturers strongly suggest transit time of two days or less. If your “Ship To” address is farther than two days away (per UPS or USPS estimates) from us (Dothan, AL. 36301) then you should consider expedited shipping. Our own pet specialist, Renee, strongly encourages Next Day Air for all vaccines.
To choose the right vaccines for your dog, take a look at our entire selection of puppy and dog vaccinations.
See our blog post about Kennel Cough here.
As always, information given here is meant to be helpful and/or educational. It is, in no way, intended to supersede, challenge or supplant the diagnosis, treatment or advice of a licensed veterinarian.