Puppy Resource Links
One of the crucial steps in assuring the puppy
will have a healthy and happy puppyhood. The
who, what, why, when, where, and how of
vaccinations are complicated, and may vary
from puppy to puppy. Always consult with your
appropriate for your puppy. To better
understand vaccines, it is important to disease
Protection from the mother (maternal
antibodies)
A newborn puppy is not naturally immune to
diseases. However, it does have some antibody
protection which is derived from its mother's
blood via the placenta. The next level of
immunity is from antibodies derived from the
first milk. This is the milk produced from the
time of birth and continuing for 36-48 hours.
This antibody-rich milk is called colostrum. The
puppy does not continue to receive antibodies
through its mother's milk. It only receives
antibodies until it is two days of age. All
antibodies derived from the mother, either via
her blood or colostrum are called maternal
antibodies. It must be noted that the puppy will
only receive antibodies against diseases for
which the mother had been recently vaccinated
against or exposed to. As an example, a mother
that had NOT been vaccinated against or
exposed to parvovirus, would not have any
antibodies against parvovirus to pass along to
her puppies. The puppies then would be
susceptible to developing a parvovirus infection.

Window of susceptibility
The age at which puppies can effectively be
immunized (protected) is proportional to the
amount of antibodies the puppy received from
its mother. High levels of maternal antibodies
the effectiveness of a vaccine. When the
maternal antibodies drop to a low enough level
in the puppy, immunization by a commercial
vaccine will work.
The antibodies from the mother generally
circulate in the newborn's blood for a number of
weeks. There is a period of time from several
days to several weeks in which the maternal
antibodies are too low to provide protection
against the disease, but too high to allow a
vaccine to work. This period is called the
window of susceptibility. This is the time when
despite being vaccinated, a puppy or kitten can
still contract the disease.

When should puppies be vaccinated?
The length and timing of the window of
susceptibility is different in every litter, and
even between individuals in a litter. A study of a
cross section of different puppies showed that
the age at which they were able to respond to a
vaccine and develop protection (become
immunized) covered a wide period of time. At six
weeks of age, 25% of the puppies could be
immunized. At 9 weeks of age, 40% of the
puppies were able to respond to the vaccine.
The number increased to 60% by 16 weeks of
age, and by 18 weeks, 95% of the puppies
were protected by the vaccine.
Almost all researchers agree that for puppies
and kittens, we need to give at least three
combination vaccinations and repeat these at
one year of age.
Consult with your veterinarian to determine
which vaccinations your puppy should receive,
and how often.
Drs. Foster and Smith prefer to vaccinate
puppies with a combination vaccine at six weeks
of age initially, with boosters given every three
weeks until the puppy is about sixteen weeks of
age. We feel that this schedule will help protect
the widest range of dogs. We realize that with
our protocol, we will be vaccinating some dogs
that are not capable of responding, and we will
be revaccinating some dogs that have already
responded and developed a protection. But
without doing an individual test on each puppy,
it is impossible to determine when the puppy's
immune system will be best able to respond.
We also realize that in the face of an infection,
due to the window of susceptibility, some litters
will contract a disease (e.g., parvo) despite
being vaccinated. By using quality vaccines and
an aggressive vaccination protocol, we can
make this window of susceptibility as small as
possible. Our vaccination protocol may not be
right for every puppy. Puppies that are not
exposed to other dogs and have a very small
chance of coming in contact with parvovirus,
may not need to be vaccinated as frequently. At
the same time, some 'high risk' puppies may
need a more intense and aggressive
vaccination program. It is best to work with your
veterinarian on a vaccination protocol that is
best for your individual puppy or kennel, taking
into consideration your individual situation.

Taken from DoctorS Fosters & Smith
Why Vaccinate your puppy
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Bulldog C-section photos
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