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Hi!

I have an almost 12 week old puppy. He was vaccinated twice by his breeder, once at 5 weeks because his litter was quite large and a second when he was 8 weeks old. We waited 4 weeks and got his third (and I was told final) vaccination today, but the vet informed us that they wanted to do 2 more full vaccinations over the course of the next 6-8 weeks. I was initially told that this would be the last round of vaccines before his boosters and I do not want to over-vaccinate him. He is not a large breed and will only be about 25-30 lbs. I am feeling conflicted about going forward with the fourth vaccine. I have read that from 12-16 weeks, the vaccines are the most effective, and while he is not exactly 12 weeks yet, he is very close. Do you think he would be okay with just the booster at 16 weeks? I really want to socialize him because he is very timid and I do not want to cause health problems down the line with too many vaccines. I just think its odd that the vet told us several times prior to this appointment that he would not need anymore, but is now saying he needs two more rounds. What should I do?
 

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Depends on what the vaccines specifically are and how much of a risk they are for your area.
I didn't vaccinate my dog for Lyme disease the first year I had him because I mistook assumed the shelter I adopted him from already had. Lyme is a huge concern in my area and he got it within just a few months.
Could you live with yourself if you skipped the recommended vaccines and your puppy did catch one of the really awful and potentially fatal diseases like leptospirosis, distemper or parvo? Puppies are known not to have fully developed immune systems and to be more like to get sick, yo get sicker and to be more likely to die from diseases.

Personally I can see the concern with over vaccinating adults with too frequent boosters and see nothing wrong with testing immunity. But I think it's better to give basic immunity to puppies and probably safer to spread out the vaccines so as not to overwhelm their little systems. So I'd do what the vet recommends, especially if it's a vet you've used for a while and trust. You can always get a second opinion to confirm.
 

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Too many vets think its fine to over vaccinate dogs. If I were you, I'd seek recommendations in the area for one that will NOT do so.
 

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Mine said the same thing because they need 3 doses, but if the first one is given too young, it's not always as effective. We didn't know how old my puppy really was (he suspects that she was younger than they said), but her teeth seemed fine at the last appointment so she didn't get a 4th round.


I'd follow the vet's advice. I believe that they do need another round at 16 weeks either way.
 

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Ask for a second opinion from another vet. My vet wants them vaccinated at 8, 12 and 16 weeks, assuming they remain with their mother until they are 9 weeks old, which he prefers they do. If not, he wants the first one a week before they leave their mother then, every two weeks after that, with rabies only on the last one (law says they have to have it by 16 weeks here.)

If you don't trust your vet, call and ask another vet in the area, or a few of them if you like.
 

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That would defiantly be over vaccinating. One of mine, the oldest one was done the same way, before I knew better. She now has awful skin problems due to an auto immune problem related to so many vaccines both as a puppy and into adulthood. Now, any puppy I get will have the first set from the breeder, and from then on I have the puppy titered. That way ONLY what is needed is whats given, if any at all. No more after, ever.
 

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The general consensus of the national veterinary associations (in the USA) are to vaccinate all puppies at 8,12 and 16 weeks for distemper and parvo (and sometimes for other associated viruses). For those dogs that started their series before 8 weeks, most vets throw in a 4th vaccine, unless it was only a week before 8 weeks. For those dogs that started either a bit late or early, or for whatever reason are off the above schedule, most hospitals will compromise maybe giving the last few shots 3 weeks apart, just so it ends around 16 weeks. For those dogs started long after 8 weeks, generally only two vaccines are necessary. The important thing is to have at least 2 vaccines (boosting the vaccines are important) and the last vaccine should be very close to 16 weeks or sometime after. When it comes down to it, those are the most important take aways from the puppy vaccine protocol. So many owners get wrapped up in the number of vaccines, thinking their pet needs 2,3 or 4... the total number means very little as long as there is a booster vaccine and the second is at or after 16 weeks. That is the date we can be pretty sure the mother's immunity will have worn off and will no longer interfere with the ability of the vaccines to have its effect.

You will find many variations of these general theme from vet office to office, with some pushing for other vaccines as well, or more frequently. Call around and see what each place says if you are not comfortable with the answers given you.

When you first vaccinate for rabies depends on your state laws (some states say 3 months, some say 4)... or you can do it anytime after (if you don't mind getting a ticket for walking your pet about after the due date without a rabies tag)... and generally most vets are now recommending for little dogs, not to vaccinate puppies for both distemper/parvo and rabies on the same day since the chances of a vaccine reaction in tiny dogs will be greater. For dogs over 20lbs, there seems to be very little risk of vaccine reactions (I did not say it could never happen, though... but in 30 years as a vet I have yet to see one in a larger dog).

As for other vaccines, such as Giardia, Corona, Bordatella, Leptospirosis, Lymes, Influenza... those are all 'non-core' vaccines and whether they are or aren't recommended depends a lot upon the area you live in, your puppies future life style and whether the vaccines are even at all effective. Too much to go into here, but just so you heard it once.

As for 'over-vaccinating', that is still a controversial subject, and though I do think there is such a thing, there is certainly very little hard data to say what exactly that is. At least nowadays there does appear to be a consensus that 'excessive' vaccination can have potential negative consequences (we didn't think so about 30 years ago, though). However, there are also thousands upon thousands of dogs that get 'excessively vaccinated' for parvo by paranoid breeders and the negative consequences are either rarely seen, or rarely recognized.

On the other hand I have a LOT of personal experience with the negative consequences of under vaccinated puppies having worked in Los Angeles for many years and seen thousands of cases of parvo virus infection, many times with fatal results... It is a fairly straightforward process to avoid such infections, but for whatever reason, some either haven't the proper exposure/education about parvo (easily the most common reason here in Los Angeles) or simply do not care or agree with the protocols (not a rare occurrence, but far less common than just ignorance).
 

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Vaccination's are something I have always been careful to keep up to date. Now our dog has an auto-immune disorder and I'm told no more immunizations for her. Have to tell you, that makes me a bit nervous.
 

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For me, it depends on the lifestyle and, the dog. If in doubt have Titering done BEFORE vaccinating again, that will tell you, and your vet if the dog needs more vaccinations or not. Rabies is a matter of state law, so, you don't get a choice there.

Various dog kennels, groomers and training facilities, day care, dog parks, etc... require different vaccinations and proof of them so, you need to go with what's required for your location and, for your dog.
 
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