“Puppy Shots”

Man, I know that I've talked about this before and the information is all over the place, but here's today's emailed question:

> hi all i have a 8 week old puppy and i gave him a 7-1 shot that i
got from the local farm store and i need to know how often do i give
them and how many of them do i give to him?  sorry to ask but i cant go
to the vet right now and the vet said i have to bring him in they wont
give me any info about it at all help please

P.S. does the 7-1 shots count as puppy shots? 

So, other than the rambling sentence construction here, this is a good question.  Texting and email have made so many people lazy that I know I'll offend you all by suggesting that you punctuate and capitalize.

We vaccinate people and animals for diseases that are serious or fatal, and for which we do not have a good treatment. If we can't treat it, let's try to prevent it.  A vaccine is a preparation containing the germs that cause a disease.  The germs have been grown in a laboratory and either killed or weakened so that they cannot harm the patient.

When these are injected into the body, the body's natural defenses react to them as though they were the real-live germ that causes the disease, and produce protection against that disease.  Then the individual is ready and waiting and "loaded for bear" if they ever meet the live germ.

This is like peace-time war games. Here's what the enemy looks like, so get prepared to fight.  Of course, since we're asking the body's defenses to do extra work, they have to be in good shape to start with.  There is no point in trying to vaccinate a sick or debilitated puppy.  It doesn't work.

Young puppies do not respond like adults when given the same vaccines.  Instead of making a high level of protection for a year, they make a low level, and they may quit in a few weeks.  Or they may not respond at all.  That is why we start vaccinating at weaning age (6 to 8 weeks) and repeat the "puppy shots" at 3 to 4 week intervals until the puppy is at least 14 weeks old.

In dogs we worry most about distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, and rabies.
The "7-in-1" shot contains the killed or weakened germs that cause distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis and some respiratory viruses.  It does not contain rabies.  Different vaccines may contain slightly different combinations.

The vaccines from different manufacturers vary in how effective they are at stimulating the dog's defenses to protect itself. If the vaccine has not been properly stored (kept cold, not frozen), it will not be effective at all.  If it has ever warmed up to room temperature for any length of time to speak of, it will not be effective. With over-the-counter vaccines, you have no assurance of effectiveness.

When you administer this yourself, there is also the possibility that you do so incorrectly.  In the rare event of a serious vaccine reaction (and they do happen sometimes), you will not be equipped to treat it.

So good luck with that.  Without a good examination by your veterinarian, you may overlook significant medical problems and parasite problems that could be easily treated in the early stages, but be very serious later on.

You get what you pay for, and you're not paying much or getting much at the feed store. (Does the same go for this advice?)

10 thoughts on ““Puppy Shots”

  1. Janet says:

    Your explanation of vaccines should be given to people who don’t want to vaccinate their human children.

    This reminds me of what my dad used to say-“If you want something done, do it right or don’t do it at all”. I’d rather spend the money to have a professional do it than risk doing it wrong and spending even more money to fix the problem. Kinda like trying to do your own plumbing when you have no idea what you’re doing.

  2. Elizabeth and The Lab Crew says:

    I shudder when I hear people ask about how to vaccinte their dogs themselves.. If they have to ask they should not be doing it.. There is so much more to vaccinating properly then people realize, and no I am not a vet nor do I work for one..

  3. Doc says:

    Hello, Nicci,

    Your comment has been unpublished. If you would like to re-write it without the insults, feel free to do so.

  4. Phyllis Sarra says:

    It isn’t difficult to vaccinate a puppy. However, it is true that you can miss important health risks by performing the shots on your own.

    Unfortunately, the economy is bad and vets are fairly expensive. At least they are giving their puppies their shots, and not ignoring them as so many ignorant people do.

  5. Doc says:

    It is true that actually administering the vaccine is not rocket science.

    Buying your own does not give you the knowledge of when and how often and how many doses are needed. It is very disturbing to me to see a dog with parvovirus that received inadequate immunizations. “I gave him that 7-in-one.”

    I also don’t like having to treat dogs for heartworm disease because “nobody told them” to start preventive.

    Expensive is a relative concept. I don’t charge any more for the vaccines than if you bought them at the feed store. I DO charge for examination and consultation, which takes about thirty minutes and addresses the lifelong care of the dog. With new puppies we talk about everything from house-training to heartworm prevention.

    You get what you pay for.

  6. carole says:

    Okay so all of the hidden insults don’t do anything.. You were taught at one point to do all of these things for your puppies, so how is it wrong to ask for information? How do you become educated if you do not ask??? Once this is done she’ll be a pro.. and no one will have to “shudder” at the thought.

  7. Marlisa says:

    I live on a farm with cows, chickens, goats, etc… I have 4 dogs (Large), and 3 cats. I have always given the 7 in 1 shot(s) as well as my brother to all his dogs. My education level is a Masters in Law Enforcement (Criminal Justice), but I had to learn when AND how to give the shots. I’m happy to read you’re asking instead of being afraid of “rude” comments about spelling, and how stupid you are for asking! I promise they didn’t have a clue their 1st time either. I’ll challenge you to come to work w/me for a day. Ask me NO questions about codes, or how to operate the lights and sirens! Figure it out on your own! That’s how she must feel after you so rudely “”answered”” the question… This wont be published for 1 simple reason… Truth Hurts!
    Indiana State Trooper* 9 years* Female* 36 years old. Guess I’m dumb to sweetheart. I had to ask my first time*
    Good luck with your pup 🙂

  8. Doc says:

    The point is not that it’s a stupid question. It isn’t. The point is that if you want to do it yourself on the cheap, you may not get good results. If you want professional advice, you should realize that the professional needs to be compensated for time and expertise.

    If I get burglarized, I might buy a gun and go try to make a “citizen’s arrest. Should I expect the police to commend me for my attempt to be self-sufficient when they come to bail me out?

  9. Doc says:

    Hello, Brooke,

    A new puppy should have a checkup as soon as possible after you get him. He needs a good physical examination to check for any problems.

    A stool exam for parasites is very important. You need about a teaspoonful of a fresh poop (less than 12 hours old) to be examined under the microscope for the eggs of common intestinal parasites.

    We start vaccinating right at weaning for the common puppyhood diseases like Distemper and Parvovirus.
    This would be six to eight weeks of age.

    The vaccines should be repeated at 3 to 4 week intervals until the puppy is at least 14 weeks old. Then they should be repeated one year later.

    In many parts of the country, you would also be starting heartworm prevention and flea control on this first visit.

    Your veterinarian would likely also discuss nutrition for your puppy, and common issues like house-training.

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