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What vaccines does my puppy need?
Only vaccinate healthy well nourished puppies!

Puppies are vaccinated to prevent them from catching unpleasant, possibly fatal diseases. Vaccination plays a vital role in controlling these diseases. It is an important part of preventative health care.

First vaccine 8-12 weeks old
Second vaccine 12-16 weeks old
Third vaccine 16-20 weeks old

Kennel cough vaccine Once at 8-12 weeks
Rabies vaccine Once at 5 months old

How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine helps a puppy develop resistance to a disease by building up the natural defences or antibodies. This is done by exposing the puppy to parts of a virus (or other microbe) that have been changed so that they still have the “labels” (or antigens) that identify the virus but are not able to cause the disease. Usually this is either by killing the virus (inactivated) or by weakening the live virus (attenuating).

In effect what we do is inject a weakened virus so that the puppy can build up its defences to use if it is infected by the real virus.

What vaccines are needed?

There are many vaccines available which could be used. Some vaccines, core vaccines, are advised for all animals and some only in special cases, or none-core vaccines. This depends on the puppy’s lifestyle and risk factors. We strongly advise every puppy is vaccinated against the following diseases

Canine parvovirus This causes severe bloody diarrhoea and vomiting
Canine distemper Causes diarrhoea, vomiting, coughing and other problems
Canine adenovirus Causes hepatitis, diarrhoea, vomiting
Leptospirosis Bacterial diseases that mainly affect the liver and kidneys
Rabies Vaccination is required by law in Hong Kong

In addition we advise vaccination against Kennel Cough. This is a common infection wherever dogs are in contact with each other, for example when they are groomed at pet shops or go to boarding or kennels or even while visiting the clinic from another sick puppy.

Other vaccines are available but we do not normally advise their use. The disease may not be a serious problem or the efficacy of the vaccine may be in some doubt.

Puppy vaccinations

A vaccine must be used properly for it to work reliably. It needs to be given at the right time, when the puppy is best able to make a strong response to the vaccine. This is affected by many factors.

  • Resistance from the mother. Newborn puppies get resistance to disease from their mother’s milk. This resistance can stop the vaccine working if the level is too high. Over time this level of passive resistance falls until the puppy is at risk of becoming ill. The problem is that we cannot tell when the resistance will fall enough to be sure the vaccine will work. If the vaccine is given too soon the resistance will interfere. If it is given too late the puppy may be at risk of infection.
  • Healthy puppy. A puppy’s response to the vaccine will be poor if it is unhealthy. If a puppy is already ill with another infection it will not be able to respond well to the vaccine. If the puppy is too thin or weak from malnutrition or poor care the response will be less. Even a heavy worm infection can reduce the response to vaccinations.
  • Some breeds of dogs are known to respond less well to the vaccines. Rottweilers and Dobermans are at risk from this problem.
  • If a puppy is already infected with the disease the vaccine will not work, even if the puppy is not showing any symptoms yet.
When to vaccinate my puppy?

At HHVC we want to ensure your puppy gets solid protection from disease by giving vaccines when they are most likely to be effective. The first vaccine should be given when the puppy is healthy and well nourished.

By law every new puppy from the pet shop or breeder in Hong Kong must already have been vaccinated before sale. The problem is that these puppies may be very young, full of worms, suffering malnutrition or be ill already. We strongly advise you to bring your new puppy to visit us for a body check so that we can treat these problems and help you to get your puppy strong and healthy enough for effective vaccination.

First vaccine: If the puppy has not been vaccinated before first keep at home for 7-10 days to be sure he is healthy. If already vaccinated we will give the next vaccine one month after the last vaccine, if he is still healthy.
Next vaccine: This is given one month after the first vaccine.
Last vaccine: Is given one month later. This is especially important for some breeds.

When you bring your new puppy to HHVC for vaccination we will plan the course of vaccines for you.

More info
Puppy care plan
Rabies vaccination
Adult dog vaccinations
Why vaccinate your dog at HHVC


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