When to Vaccinate, Intramuscular injections, Subcutaneous injection, Intranasal administration.

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When to Vaccinate

Puppies receive vaccinations against parvovirus, distemper, and adeno-virus-2 (canine hepatitis) at six to eight weeks of age, again at nine to eleven weeks, and at twelve to sixteen weeks, for the final series. A dog older than four months of age with an unknown vaccination history needs one dose of vaccine against these diseases. After a booster shot at one year, most authorities recommend revaccination every three years.

The first rabies vaccination is generally given at sixteen weeks (four months) of age. Boosters are usually given at three-year intervals, although a few states require annual rabies vaccination. Adult dogs with an unknown vaccination history need a rabies vaccination as well. The basic principles of vaccination are listed below.

  • Start the vaccination as young as two to four weeks of age if the puppy was orphaned and did not have any of the mother's first milk (colostrum); otherwise, start vaccinating the puppy at eight weeks.
  • Vaccinate for those diseases that are endemic in your area.
  • Monitor your pup for 20 minutes after vaccination for any signs of an allergic reaction.
  • Booster the vaccine at the specified interval to keep the level of immunity protective.

There are three different ways to administer vaccines to animals. They can be given by subcutaneous injection (under the skin), intra-muscular injection (in the muscle), or by intranasal route (nose drops). Each vaccine has an approved mode of administration, determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

A subcutaneous injection is commonly given in loose skin of the scruff area of the neck. There is no postvaccine soreness (although there can be mild itching), and it is an easily accessible area. These reasons make it a very popular mode of administration.

It is generally thought that intramuscular injections enter the blood stream quicker than subcutaneous ones and can stimulate a stronger immune response. There can often be muscle soreness for a day or two post vaccination. Some vaccines are required to be given this way.

Intranasal administration is via nose drops. Only one vaccine (Bordetella bron-chiseptica) is available now in this form for dogs. This vaccine starts a very strong and effective immune reaction locally.