All About Marie

Animal Files columnist of the Orange County Register from 1992-2016; Emmy Award winning producer of Educational Television Programming; Host of "The Pet Place Radio Show" heard world-wide at; click the player below to listen. Producer/Director/Editor/Co-host of "The Pet Place TV Show" during the 19 years it ran on KDOC TV in Los Angeles and Orange Counties; Wife, Mother of five kids, Grandmother of two baby boys and one baby girl, and pet parent of two cats, one dog, many fish, and a cockatoo.

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Vaccinating your Dogs

Dear Marie:
My sister just got a new puppy and I am overly worried about him, I am sure, but I want to make certain he stays healthy.  He has had all his shots but I am scared that he might still get sick because I've heard about some vaccinated puppies getting the same sicknesses they've been vaccinated for.  How effective are the shots?  Should I be so worried?

Dear Worried:
Pet vaccinations are highly effective...however on extremely rare occasions, vaccines will fail.  I stress that these occurrences are EXTREMELY rare.  Furthermore, if your sister's pet gets all of his boosters on the recommended time schedule for puppies, the chance of their failing is almost non-existent. 

Nevertheless, as a puppy, his immune system is not fully developed. Generally, you should avoid taking him out and around other dogs until he is at least 4 months old.  This age is also coincidental with the time he should be receiving his first rabies vaccination. 

Of particular concern for young dogs is the potential for being exposed to a virus which causes the disease parvo.  This is a highly infectious disease that is often fatal for very young or very old dogs.  It is shed through the feces, therefore if you are out walking and come across the fecal remains of an infected dog, your pet may be infected. 

Most likely, your pet has already received several parvo vaccinations.  But, until the series of shots is completed, he is not fully protected.  This also holds true for other puppy shots that must be given in intervals.

I recommend that you refrain from taking your puppy to off leash dog parks, especially if you are concerned for his health and safety.  Though most dog owners that use these facilities are conscientious, there are a few that do not vaccinate their pets; hence there is a potential risk for contagious diseases to be spread.   Further, you should be sure to neuter your puppy before going into areas where other dogs are present.  This will prevent unexpected mating as well as a certain amount of offensive posturing which could lead to a fight.

Be sure and get your puppy an ID collar.  If he ever gets lost, this will be his voice to get back home.  Finally, don’t feel like you are worrying too much...between you and your sister, it sounds like this is one lucky puppy.

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