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Dog Vaccination Schedule Second Opinion

by Dana
(Fort Lee, NJ, USA)


I would like to receive a second opinion on how/what/when to safely vaccine my puppy Chelsea.

She is a cavalier king charles spaniel and was born Aug 15, 2010. She was shipped from a breeder in Missouri to NJ, and I received her on October 29, 2010. She is now just passing her 11 weeks.

I took her to the vet the day after she arrived, and the vet confirmed that she was healthy. I let the vet know that that I wanted to take a holistic approach with Chelsea (my vet is on OPD's list of veterinarians who practice holistic medicine). However, since she has been on multi vaccine schedule from the breeder, the vet recommended we finish the schedule and give her a booster in 2~3 weeks and then 1 more booster in another 2~3 weeks.

Here is what the breeder gave me regarding Chelsea's vaccination schedule prior to sending her to me:

9/1 Panacure
9/26 Galaxy Da2PPv(Canine Distemper, Adenovirus type 2, parainfluenza, parvovirus vaccine)
9/29, 9/30, 10/1 Panacure
10/10 Bordetella 04088011A Exp. 9/15/11
10/24, 25, 26, 27 Albon- Safe Guard
10/24 Galaxy da2ppv

Now my vet recommends that we give her booster on Galaxy in 2~3 weeks. I made an appointment 11/19/2010. However, I would like to receive a second opinion on how/what/when to safely vaccinate Chelsea.

Also, I don't know if this is relevant or not but she keeps scratching her neck when her collar is on (when collar off she doesn't, no visible skin condition), and she has a runny eyes with some redness around white part of her eyes.


My vet checked her eyes and she confirmed that her eyes are healthy. There is no discharge or white mucus types. It is mostly her tears, but I would like to mention that just in case.

Chelsea supposedly had 2 Galaxy vaccinations so far (the breeder posted the vaccination tag). Most holistic approaches that I've read so far stay away from any vaccination before 16 weeks. My vet was saying how puppies' immune systems from mother drops dramatically around that age and we should vaccinate her soon. I'm not sure which approach I should take.

She also confirmed that they don't vaccine dogs annually. Rather, they would titer test when it is necessary.

Now, with the given schedule that Chelsea already took, what is the best vaccination schedule? Also, if I cannot vaccinate her until a later age, how can I socialize her? Would she be OK against the diseases if I have to meet my friend's dogs whom I know for sure finished their vaccinations and are healthy?

Please advise me on her dog vaccination schedule.

Currently, Chelsea is healthy, energetic, and silly like most puppies.

Comments for Dog Vaccination Schedule Second Opinion

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Nov 02, 2010
My Online Vet Response for Dog Vaccination Schedule Second Opinion
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman


Hi Dana,
Chelsea is a VERY cute puppy! And, I agree, that you are doing the right thing by questioning the number and frequency of her vaccinations. At this point I am concerned that she started with the first vaccination TOO young, at 5 1/2 weeks old.

At this stage, her mother's antibodies (which she acquired when she was nursing and took in colostrum, called passive immunity) will have been high enough to prevent Chelsea's immune system from producing any antibodies of her own (active immunity.)

In fact, Parvo virus antibodies from the mother stay at a high enough level to protect the puppy until they are 16 weeks old. Therefore, a vaccine for Parvo virus will be 'ineffective' if given prior to 16 weeks of age.

Bordatella is not a 'core' vaccine, and is not necessary unless you are intending to board at a kennel, but Chelsea received one at 7 weeks old, which is just another stress on an immature immune system. And then she received another Distemper/Parvo vaccine at 9 1/2 weeks old. And if she gets a vaccination on 11/19, she will only be 13 1/2 weeks old, still too young to respond effectively and produce her own antibodies!

Therefore, DO NOT give any vaccine before she is 16 weeks old. According to my calculations, she will be 16 weeks old December 15.

By 6 months old, in February 2011, she can get a Rabies vaccination. At that time, an antibody titer can be done for Distemper and for Parvo. If she has a low titer, then she could get a booster, but I would advise not to give it at the same time as the Rabies.

Space it out about 6-10 months later. Remember that antibody titers are measuring what is called the humoral protection of the body. There is also another immune system called 'cell mediated' immunity. There is no blood test to measure how high this might be. But if the antibody (humoral protection) level is low for Distemper or Parvo, it does not mean that she has no protection!

Veterinary behaviorists have discussed this dilemma, of how to socialize puppies if they have not completed their vaccination series. They have reached the conclusion that it is MORE important to have puppies socialize in a 'controlled' environment than to wait until they get all of their vaccinations after 16 weeks. The most important time for socialization is between 8-12 weeks of age for puppies.

To decrease risks of infectious disease, if you take Chelsea to a 'puppy class' and if all of the puppies come from mothers that were vaccinated prior to pregnancy, and all of the puppies nursed, then they should all have similar levels of protection. Plus, an exam for a health check prior to puppy class, and a fecal.

To be continued.... Part 2

Nov 03, 2010
Part 2 - My Online Vet Response to Dog Vaccination Schedule Second Opinion
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

If you are only exposing Chelsea to other healthy, vaccinated dogs she will be fine. It is when you take her out to dog parks, dog shows, and 'public' places where stray, ill, or unvaccinated dogs may be, that you may be at risk for exposing her to disease.

She also does not need any more de-wormer. She should have a fecal done to see if she does have any worms.

Scratching around her neck is caused by the new sensation of wearing a collar. She will get used to it.

I am concerned about the tears running from her eyes, and the slight redness. This may be secondary to the numerous vaccines she has received.

I would discuss with your holistic veterinarian at her next visit on 11/19, of giving her a dose of Thuya 30c. This is a homeopathic remedy used to remove the harmful side effects of vaccinations. But I would NOT vaccinate her until she is over 16 weeks of age.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Nov 03, 2010
Chelsea
by: Dana

Thank you for your response. Yes, fecal test was done during her last visit, and we didn't find any parasites.

I'm still puzzled about what type of vaccine to use.

Our vet said they don't have any separate parvo/distemper vaccinations, so I would have to give her Galaxy or other combo vaccine for the next vaccination (in December, like you suggested). Is that OK?

I'm sure it is not the best possible solution, but I really want to stick with this vet. They seem to listen my concerns really carefully, and definitely do not rush during appointments. If I go to the same hospital for the next visit (Animal General at Edgewater, NJ), I have no choice but to choose combo vaccine (I know rabies would be seperate). Is that still OK?

Nov 07, 2010
My Online Vet Response for Dog Vaccination Schedule Second Opinion
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Dana,
That would be fine to give her the combination DHPP(Distemper, Hepatitis, ParaInfluenza, Parvovirus) vaccination when Chelsea is 16 weeks (4 months) old on Dec 15.

No Bordatella is needed.

At 6 months old, Feb 2011, she could have the Rabies vaccination. I would suggest a repeat of the fecal also, just to make sure she has not picked up any parasites over the next 2-3 months.

Then in Dec 2011, she could have an antibody titer test for Distemper, and for Parvo. If she has a protective titer, then no vaccination is necessary. And another fecal to make sure she has not picked up anything (then fecals can be done annually).

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Dog Vaccination Schedule,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Vaccinations Section

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