What you need to know about puppy vaccinations

Puppies will get vaccinations at 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks, then annually.


A vaccine is a substance created to incite an immune response for a particular disease.  It needs to be given multiple times to a puppy to initiate his immune system not only to have an immune response but also to get the level of response high enough in the body to stay strong for the year ahead.

Here is the list of vaccines that recommend for every puppy. These pathogens are highly contagious, common and can be life-threatening:


This is spread in saliva from one mammal to another.  Bats are also carriers of the Rabies virus and Rabies positive bats have been found in this area.  Your puppy will be vaccinated for Rabies at 16 weeks of age. Getting the Rabies vaccination is the law as humans can get this disease from their pet and Rabies is a fatal disease.


Distemper is passed from one dog to another through direct contact with fresh urine, blood or saliva.  Symptoms include sneezing, coughing, discharge from the nose, fever, vomiting, diarrhea and depression.  The virus can spread to the brain causing seizures.  Puppies are quickly weakened and often pass without quick aggressive treatment.


Parvovirus is shed in the feces (poop) of infected dogs and can live in the environment for months to years.  It is acquired through direct oral or nasal contact.  Parvovirus infects and destroys rapidly dividing cells in the small intestine, in immune system tissues, and in the bone marrow.  This particular virus is categorized by bloody vomiting and diarrhea.  The puppy will quickly deteriorate.  Sadly even with treatment survival rates for puppies affected with parvovirus are less than 50%.

Hepatitis / Adenovirus

Hepatitis is spread through contact with urine, feces and saliva of infected dogs.  Symptoms can vary from just a slight fever and congestion to a severe decrease in the ability to fight infection, reduced blood clotting abilities and death of the animal.  The virus targets the lining of blood vessels, the liver, kidney, spleen and lungs.  If recovered the animal will have long term kidney damage and a clouding of the cornea in the eyes.


Bordetella is often referred to as “Kennel Cough” because it is rapidly spread from dog to dog in confined spaces.  Bordetella creates an inflammation of the upper airway.  It is characterised by a dry harsh cough followed by retching and gagging.  Mild cases will resolve on their own in as little as 5 days.  Puppies or weakened and ill dogs may develop chronic bronchitis or even fatal bronchopneumonia.


Parainfluenza is a respiratory virus that is spread in the air from the respiratory tract of an infected animal.  The dog will have a dry or moist cough, a fever, may have nasal discharge and loss of appetite.


Leptospirosis is an organism that survives on surface water such as puddles, streams, rivers or swamps.  The water is contaminated by infected urine and can be contracted through open wounds or drinking.  Leptospirosis may also be spread by eating infected tissue or at birth.  An infected animal can spread the organism for years.  Symptoms may be asymptomatic or mild but it can cause multiple organ failure and death.  Leptospirosis is Zoonotic, which means it is something humans can get as well as dogs and other mammals.

If you have any questions, please feel free to discuss it with us at your puppy’s next vaccination appointment.