I just got a new miniature schnauzer puppy that is 10 weeks old. The breeder said that he is at risk for infectious diseases until his next vaccines in July. It was recommended that I not take him to public places until then. Is this correct? Is there anything else I need to do before July?
I think a misunderstanding on this subject has developed over time. If your puppy is only 10 weeks old, he will need additional vaccines before July. In puppies (and similar for kittens) the core vaccines are typically started around 6-8 weeks of age and given every 3-4 weeks thereafter, until roughly 16-18 weeks of age. This may mean 3 or 4 trips to the vet for boosters depending on when you start and whether you go 3 or 4 weeks between visits. Additionally, your vet will recommend regular fecal screening for parasites or automatic deworming at each visit. Flea control options, heartworm prevention, diet recommendations, and other puppy or kitten-hood advice will likely also be given. Finally, neutering or spaying is recommended for medical, behavioral, and reproductive reasons at 4-6 months of age.
As for infectious diseases, my advice is to avoid public areas where other dogs or cats (of unknown vaccination status) have passed through until fully vaccinated. These areas could be contaminated with infectious agents that could lead to serious consequences in your puppy or kitten. Most often within a few weeks after the final booster (roughly 18-20 weeks of age in dogs, sooner in kittens) your pet has the protection it needs to defend against these life threatening infectious diseases.
Remember, vaccines do not protect your pet against everything. Even after the vaccine series is complete it is wise to use common sense when your dog is in close proximity to “dog strangers” and the areas they have come in contact with. Fortunately, though, your dog should be covered for the most life threatening viruses.
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Max Conn, DVM is the owner of Cat & Exotic Care of the CentralCoast, a full service veterinary hospital dedicated to the special needs of cats, birds, reptiles and small mammals. Cat & Exotic Care is located in PismoCoastPlaza, 565 Five Cities Drive, 805-773-0228. More information can be found at www.catandexoticcare.com.
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