A transcript of the above video is provided below:

Today, I want to talk to you about another confusing subject because there’s a lot of misinformation out there and people do a lot of really weird things – and this is with vaccines and puppies.

Typically, for the series of Distemper-Parvo vaccines in puppies, they need three vaccines. Breeders a lot of times will start the vaccines at six weeks and they’ll finish them by 12 weeks and say, “Well, they got the three vaccines. They’re protected.” Well, that’s really not the case. That is not how it works, because it’s really not about the number of vaccines that they get, more so, it’s the timing of the vaccines, and that’s where this confusion lay. So we’ll try to go through this and help get a little clarity for you and so you understand why we do what we do here at Coastal Animal Hospital.

Puppies have some protection from their mother and it’s called Maternally-Derived Antibodies. These are antibodies from their mother that protect the puppies until their own immune system develops and over time, those antibodies go away. And it’s not until these antibodies decline to a certain level that a vaccine will be effective. So if you give it early, when the antibodies from the mother are still really high, those mother’s antibodies are going to block that vaccine being effective. It’s not until the mother’s antibodies are below a certain threshold that you can give the vaccine and then the puppy’s own immune system will create those natural antibodies that they’ll have for the rest of their life. But the problem is, we don’t know when those maternally-derived antibodies are going to drop low enough that we can actually have an effective vaccine. It could drop as early as 8 weeks, it could be 12 weeks, or as late as 16 weeks. And by 16 weeks, almost all puppies will be able to respond to the vaccine.

But then there’s also the window where those maternally-derived antibodies are low and so it’s not going to give any sort of protection to the puppy if they get exposed to something like parvo. If we haven’t given that next booster vaccine yet, then they are in a window where they can get infected. And that’s why it’s really important to keep your puppies inside, away from public places, until they’ve gone through their puppy series and we can feel sure that they are going to have some protection, which is after the last vaccine, typically around 16 weeks.

So we give the vaccine at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, and 16 weeks. Now, we would even give it more frequently if there’s been a recent exposure to parvo. If you had another puppy who died of parvo and you’re getting another puppy now, we actually might want to give that vaccine every two weeks to make sure that once those maternally-derived antibodies are low, that we’re not going to have a potential exposure of parvo before we’ve given our next vaccine. A lot of shelters give the vaccine every two to three weeks instead of every four weeks like we do here for that very reason. So this is a scenario where we might want to increase the number of the vaccines to prevent your puppy from having an open window of exposure to these diseases.

So hopefully that explains why we give the vaccines when we do, why we do it. And even if you’re a breeder or you found a dog and they’ve already had six vaccines and they’re 12 weeks old, we’re still going to give another one because they’re not old enough for us to be really sure that they have a protective titer.

If you still have questions about this, give us a call, 760-633-2254.