Disease Prevention Through Vaccination


Puppies and young adults need vaccines to protect them from deadly diseases just as children do. Vaccinations are given to prepare the body’s immune system against invasion by a particular disease-causing organism. The goal of vaccines is to promote health and prevent disease. When puppies are born they receive protection from their mother’s antibodies in her milk. After being weaned, the puppies need vaccinations to protect them from disease. Proper administration of vaccines, are known to increase a pet’s health and their lifespan.

Your puppy will need several shots in the first year of its life to protect it from disease. Your puppy should receive its first round of vaccinations between 6 to 8 weeks of age. It should receive it’s next round of vaccinations every 3 to 4 weeks after that. The last vaccinations should be given at or around 16 weeks of age. These vaccinations will then need to be boostered exactly 1 year following the last set of vaccinations.

There is a small risk of an allergic reaction to a vaccine. These risks include mild discomfort where the injection was administered, mild fever, and decreased appetite and activity. Your pet may develop a sneeze 3 to 4 days after intranasal vaccines (vaccines administered into the pet’s nostril). These are the more common vaccine reactions. They can start within hours of the vaccine and usually disappear within several days. Some pets can develop more serious allergic reactions, causing swelling and/or breathing difficulty. In this event you would want to have your puppy examined by a veterinarian quickly. Even though there are risks of a possible vaccine reaction, there are even greater risks of pet becoming ill if they are unvaccinated. It is also much more cost effective to get your pet vaccinated than have to treat the disease the vaccinations target.  


The parvo virus attacks the intestines and sometimes the heart. Signs include bloody diarrhea, vomiting, inability to hold down food or water, dehydration and lethargy (depression).

The parvo virus is transmitted through feces. 30 billion parvo particles can be found in every ounce of infected stool. This disease is highly contagious. If a dog is diagnosed with parvo and makes a recovery, the virus can still be spread for up to a month following treatments.

Death results from dehydration due to large amounts of vomiting and diarrhea. It will not help to force your pet to drink once vomiting has occurred. Eating and drinking will only cause more vomiting. Death can also be caused by an overwhelming bacterial infection, internal hemorrhaging, and heart failure.


Canine distemper is a highly contagious disease transmitted through contact with respiratory secretions. It affects the respiratory and central nervous systems.

Canine distemper signs are not always typical. They may include fever, “stuffed up” head, squinting, vomiting and diarrhea. Other signs that may be noticed include discharge of pus from the eyes and nose, coughing, and a decrease in your pet’s activity level.

Canine distemper has a 50% mortality rate. Dogs that do survive may also lose their sense of smell, sight, or hearing. 


Leptosporosis is a bacterial disease that attacks the kidneys and liver. Some signs that may be noticed include vomiting, fever, sore muscles, stiffness, depression, and breathing difficulties. Vision impairment and convulsions may also be noted.

Leptospirosis is passed through contact with an infected animal’s urine. Leptospirosis can penetrate intact or cut skin, rapidly invading the blood stream and then spread to all parts of the body.

Outdoor dogs and hunting dogs tend to have a higher risk of contracting this disease. They can come in contact with this disease by drinking contaminated water. Leptospirosis organisms survive better in stagnant water. Leptospirosis IS contagious to humans and other species of animals.


Kennel cough is a severe chronic cough. The cough can be aggravated by excitement, exercise, and gentle pressure from the collar. Your pet’s cough may be dry and hacking or your pet may have a moist cough, producing mucus.  Some other signs you may notice are decreased appetite and difficulty breathing.  This disease may be passed by contact with nasal secretions of infected dogs.  Dogs can be treated and usually recover within 10 days to 6 weeks depending on the severity of the disease.


These diseases are highly contagious and very hard to kill. They are not affected by temperature or most disinfectants or alcohols. The most effective way to disinfect is with a bleach disinfectant. You will need to mix 4 ounces of bleach to 1 gallon of water and apply to affected areas.

These diseases can be carried on a dog’s hair and feet. They can also be carried on any inanimate object that comes in contact with an infected dog including rugs, clothing, shoes, bedding, and food bowls.

Without proper treatment any of these diseases can kill your puppy or young adult dog! The only true way to protect a puppy from these diseases is to vaccinate your pet. Once vaccine is not enough! Your puppy will need several to begin a happy, healthy life.

Because of the risk of a reaction, all vaccines should be given by a veterinarian who is experienced in how to treat reactions. Your local tractor supply store will not know how to treat a vaccine reaction. Also vaccines must be transported and handled in a specific manner to insure their effectiveness. It cannot be guaranteed that your local feed store is aware of the proper way to handle or store the vaccines. They may also be unaware of the proper way to administer the vaccines.

There are risks involved with vaccinating a puppy. But as you can see, the risk of contracting any of these deadly diseases far outweighs the risk of a vaccine. It also costs far less to vaccinate than to treat these diseases. Your puppy will thank you!