Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fully Vaccinated vs Up to Date on Vaccines - what is the difference?

Unfortunately – last year I had to put a little 14 week old puppy to sleep because it dying from parvovirus. This was very sad because it might have been prevented – it was all due to lack of communication.  Most everyone knows that puppies need to be vaccinated but many do not fully understand why, how and how often.

A puppy should be vaccinated 3-4 times starting at 6-8 weeks of age until they are 16 weeks old. Vaccinating your puppy and kitten helps to build up their immune system so when they do run into those viruses in the environment, they can have antibodies ready to fight.

When this person adopted her 8 week old puppy, she was told that he passed his health exam and was ‘Up to Date’ on vaccines. Which he was – he received his first set of vaccines at 7 weeks… so he was “up to date” at that time. The person thought they meant that he was ‘fully vaccinated’ – which he was not – he needed his next series of puppy shots at approximately 10 weeks of age.  She brought this puppy, Rocky, everywhere – pet stores, parks, friends, etc. He picked up the parvo somewhere and was just not able to fight it.

Most shelters, rescues, veterinarians and even breeders are good about telling owners that the puppy is due for another vaccination at ‘x’ weeks…. But many people are so excited to get their puppy that they may not ‘hear’ that bit of information.

I would simply encourage every new puppy/kitten parent to see their veterinarian as soon as they get their new family member and understand the vaccination and deworming plan their vet recommends. And whenever possible – avoid “vaccine clinics” – every pet should be fully examined by a vet before receiving vaccine. Not to mention there are cheaper vaccines (which many of those types of clinics use) that have been known to cause many health issues in pets.  

In short - "Fully Vaccinated" means that the puppy has received all the necessary vaccinations for that year.... where as 'Up to Date' simily means that the puppy has had the necessary vaccines for their age - but may need more. 

I will never forget little Rocky and only share this story so that other people do not run into the same situation.

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