Congratulations on your decision to add a new puppy to your family!
Which Vaccines and How Often?
1. Bordetella. This vaccine protects against the most common cause of "kennel cough", Bordetella bronchiseptica. This bacterium is highly contagious and causes mild to severe respiratory disease in dogs. Most cases are mild and require only supportive care as treatment, however the severe cases can lead to pneumonia and death if left untreated. The Bordetella vaccine does not cover all of the causes of "kennel cough" as there are several. This vaccine series consists of one vaccine at ~8 weeks of age and repeated yearly.
2. Distemper (DA2PP). This is a combination vaccine that covers Distemper Virus, Parvovirus, Adenovirus-2, and Parainfluenza virus.
Distemper virus is a highly contagious virus that can cause respiratory, gastrointestinal, and neurological disease. There is no known cure for this virus. Extensive supportive care is needed for the best outcome of this virus, but often leads to death.
Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus transmitted through feces that affects rapid replicating cells such as white blood cells and the gastrointestinal tract. Mortality is greater than 90% when left untreated. Treatment is supportive and often requires days to weeks of hospitalization.
Adenovirus-2. This vaccine aids immunity against Adenovirus type-1 and type-2. Adenovirus-1 causes canine infectious hepatitis while type-2 causes respiratory disease. These diseases are generally self-limiting and often do not need treatment. Type-1 can lead to neurological disease and bleeding diseases which can lead to death, though this is a rare occurrence.
Parainfluenza. This vaccine protects against another virus that causes upper respiratory disease in dogs. Most infections are mild and self-limiting. However, it can be harmful in immunocompromised individuals.
This vaccine series consists of 3-4 total vaccines as a puppy at ~8 weeks, 12 weeks, and 16 weeks of age and then repeated yearly to every 3 years, depending on the dog's age.
3. Leptospirosis. This vaccine protects against a bacteria called Leptospira which causes acute (sudden) kidney and liver failure. This bacterium is often harbored in water such as puddles, ponds, lakes, and rivers. Many rodents and other wildlife carry these bacteria and are the primary cause of transmission. This bacterium is zoonotic (transmissible to humans). Though this is not considered a core vaccine, We highly recommend it in the St. Louis area and make it part of the puppy vaccines in all WE see.
This vaccine is given twice as a puppy at ~12 and 16 weeks of age and then repeated annually.
4. Rabies. Rabies is a fatal virus that is easily prevented. This is a disease that is also zoonotic. This vaccine is given one time as a puppy at ~ 16 weeks of age and then repeated once yearly or every 3 years pending the dog's age.
1. Influenza combo. This vaccine covers H3N8 and H3N2 influenza viruses. These cause a severe upper respiratory disease in some dogs, while others are carriers not exhibiting any symptoms. This is a highly contagious virus and can spread very quickly and efficiently. If your dog is going to be in social settings (dog training, dog parks, daycare, grooming, and/or boarding) WE highly recommend this vaccine.
This vaccine series consists of two as a puppy over 8 weeks of age and then repeated annually.
2. Lyme Disease. This vaccine covers Lyme Disease, which is a bacteria transmitted by ticks. WE strongly recommend this vaccine in hunting dogs, dogs that travel North and dogs that travel to the Lake of the Ozarks.
Heartworm and Fecal Testing
We recommend checking a fecal sample as a puppy until there is at least one negative sample. Then we recommend testing annually to make sure our dogs are free of intestinal parasites. There are several different types of intestinal parasites dogs can carry that are transmissible to humans (zoonotic), so this is very important in households where kids are present.
We check for heartworm disease at ~6 months of age pending when your dog is in the hospital and then yearly after. Even if on preventative, we recommend yearly testing since heartworm preventative is 98-99% effective. We want to make sure we catch and treat this disease as soon as possible.
Heartworm and Flea/Tick Preventatives
Heartworm and Flea/Tick prevention is important for the entire duration of your puppy's/dog's life. We recommend yearly prevention.
What is Heartworm Disease?
Heartworm disease is transmitted through the bites of mosquitoes, which we have a lot of here in Missouri. The larvae set up home in a dog's heart and lungs, growing to adults, causing severe disease, and often fatal if left untreated. Prevention is the best way to keep your dog safe given that treatment for heartworm disease is harsh, long, and also comes with risks.
Information on heartworm disease can be found by clicking the link below:
Heartworm Preventative Recommendations
Prior to the age of 6 months, we recommend giving your puppy a monthly chewable for the prevention of heartworm disease. The preventative we recommend is called Interceptor Plus. This preventative also covers Roundworm, Hookworms, Tapeworms, and Whipworms. Once your puppy is 6 months of age, we recommend the Proheart injection. This is a 6-12 month long injectable (pending your dog’s age) heartworm preventative. This makes the duty of protecting your dog our job, not yours :)
These should be given monthly all year long due to our warm days in the winter months.
Before 6 months of age, we recommend a monthly chewable preventative called Nexgard. We also recommend this in older dogs if they have a high risk of tick infestation.
For dogs that are 6 months and older with low tick exposure, We recommend a 3 month long chewable preventative called Bravecto.
These should be given monthly all year long due to our warm days in the winter months.
We recommend feeding a puppy specific diet until 1 year – 1.5 year of age and matching your dog's breed (small vs. large breed). Please feed what is recommend on the back of the bag and adjust accordingly depending on if your dog is gaining too much or loosing too much weight. You can click this link, https://wsava.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Selecting-a-pet-food-for-your-pet-updated-2021_WSAVA-Global-Nutrition-Toolkit.pdf, for a visual and instructions on how to grade your pet's weight. Once your puppy is spayed/neutered, then the amount they need per day will decrease due to a slowing metabolism. We recommend feeding 3/4-1/2 the amount recommended on the bag at that time. If you ever have trouble finding the correct amount, please contact me and We will be more than happy to help.
The brands of food We recommend feeding are Royal Canin (they have breed specific diets), Hills, Purina Pro-plan, Iams or Eukanuba. We recommend AAFCO certified foods; if you ever have any questions regarding a brand We are more than happy to help!
With all the new brand of foods out there, it is hard to keep track on which are doing their due diligence to make sure the diet is healthy. We want you to feed what you are comfortable with, but also want to make sure it is well balanced for your kiddo. If you are thinking of feeding a different diet than mentioned above, here is a great handout with helpful questions you should ask the manufacturer to make sure it is balanced and healthy: https://wsava.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Selecting-a-pet-food-for-your-pet-updated-2021_WSAVA-Global-Nutrition-Toolkit.pdf
We recommend spaying/neutering your puppy at 6 months - 13 months of age, depending on your preference. There are new studies showing that waiting until about 1 year is better for large breed dogs, but this has not been seen in smaller breeds. In females, spaying before the first heat cycle (~6 months of age) has been shown to decrease risk of mammary cancer. We will also take a blood sample before proceeding with the spay/neuter procedure. This will screen your puppy to make sure she/he is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia and surgery. It also provides us with a healthy "normal" to compare to in case he/she gets ill in the future. If you are going to wait until your puppy is older to spay/neuter, then We recommend inserting a microchip when we administer the Rabies vaccine.
Information on spaying your dog: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951464
Information on neutering your dog: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951454
We recommend starting training as soon as possible. Start playing with their ears, feet and placing fingers in their mouth to get them used to being handled. We also recommend taking away their food regularly while they eat to decrease any possible food aggression issues. As a general rule, puppies can hold their urine as many hours as they are months old (2 months = 2 hours; 3 months = 3 hours, etc.). We recommend using a crate for potty training. Please contact me with any questions regarding this and We will be more than happy to go into more detail.
It is also important to start socializing your puppy with other dogs as soon as possible. We recommend puppy dates, daycares, and dog parks after your puppy has had his/her full round of vaccines after 16 weeks of age. Until then only allow your puppy around other dogs you know are well taken care of and up to date on their annual vaccines/preventative care.
Insurance is always a great idea to start as young as possible to get the cheapest rate. We have seen it save hundreds of lives. The health insurance We are most familiar with is Trupanion, but there are several other choices as well. Things to ask: How much is the deductible? Do they cover genetic predispositions? What percentage of the bill do they cover? Do they cover preventative care? Do they pre-approve? There are several health insurances out there, so definitely feel free to research them. If you have any questions let me know!
Other insurance options We have heard and dealt with seldomly are FIGO and Nationwide. Here is a link that helps break down the different insurances for you and goes over how to choose: http://www.pet-insurance-university.com/index.html
We are okay with giving treats in moderation (only 5% of your dogs diet should be treats) and some human food works just as well!!
Good things to give are:
1. Peanut Butter (frozen in a kong is best). Make sure there is NO Xylitol in the product. Most do not have this artificial sweetener, but some brands are starting to sneak this in. WE know JIF does not.
2. Cream cheese (frozen in a kong is best).
3. Vegetables: carrots, green beans, peas, cucmbers, etc.
4. Fruits: apples (no seeds), blueberries, strawberries
DO NOT FEED:
1. Grade and/or raisins
4. Garlic or Onions (even food cooked with these)
Recommended chews for dogs can be found at the link below.
List of 101 Harmful Household Items
We hope this information helps you. NEVER hesitate to call or e-mail us with any questions/concerns you may have!