You are not my vet, but you may have some advice on puppy's vaccinations
September 8, 2014 8:20 AM   Subscribe

Vet says wait until after 16 weeks to take Otto outside, manufacturer says a single injection provides immunity, and my previous research says they're both wrong.

The delightful Otto (full name Count Otto von Nostrand ; picture 1, picture 2) has joined our lives. We are completely smitten with him, and proud of how well he's been doing in his short time with us.

We picked him up from the breeder recently, and took him to the vet after two days for his initial examination and vaccinations. He's fit as a fiddle, but I'm a bit confused about the vaccination schedule and implications for taking him outside. His first vaccinations were a day before he turned 10 weeks old, and were Nobivac DHPPi and Nobivac Lepto 2. The stickers are in his Vaccination Certificate, but his next vaccination isn't due until 16 weeks - and the vet has advised he shouldn't set foot outside prior to the completion.

I'm a bit confused as from all of my research prior, it seemed there would be two injections performed within 14 days, and it would be safe for him to go outside a week afterwards. That said, this first injection was done just shy of his 10 week birthday, and the Nobivac data sheet for DHPPi suggests that a single injection at 10 weeks of age should establish immunity.

I don't want to completely second-guess my vet, nor go against their advice without good reason (and am awaiting a clarification from them) - however, I'm balancing no outside before 4 months age, the threat of Parvo, and a vaccine that claims established immunity after a single injection at 10 weeks of age. In the meantime, Otto is being carried to work (office) with me each day and placed in his own playpen, will be attending puppy classes from tonight - which will help with socialisation. Toilet training has limited opportunities as we don't have private outside space. I live and work in central London (Clerkenwell).

Has anyone else had a similar vaccination schedule with their puppy? Is it feasible to follow the vaccine manufacturer's datasheet after a week, avoid high-traffic, soil-laden areas, but at least give puppy a chance to pound the pavement and see the world on his feet before 4 months?
posted by sektah to Pets & Animals (7 answers total)

This is about the vax schedule I had with my dog. I was advised by my breeder and by my vet to not let him prowl around too much outside, but that simply being outside was fine. I live in a very urban area of Chicago. I suspect that the threats are similar between here and central London. I don't recall there being much of an active wildlife in the Clerkenwell area when I was visiting your city, though maybe there's like a super active raccoon population that is just really good at keeping secrets, idk.

Basically: Otto is gonna be totally fine walking around on a leash in an urban environment. Don't let him go rooting around in bushes, don't let him drink from puddles, don't let him eat sticks, don't let him roughhouse with unknown dogs, don't let him make out with any raccoons.

Enjoy your lovely puppy!
posted by phunniemee at 9:13 AM on September 8, 2014 [5 favorites]

Best answer: If one of the major worries is Parvo, then attending a puppy class should be even more contraindicated than a local park.
posted by barnone at 9:50 AM on September 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: What phunnieme and bar none said. I doubt the vet is saying don't let him set foot outside. The point is limit exposure. Central London has rats and other critters, but they're not leaving anything dangerous in the middle of public walks.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 10:10 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I raised two dogs from puppies, and this was roughly the same vaccination schedule we followed. Otto does need to go outside and get used to that (he needs to be housebroken) -- but he shouldn't be spending lots of time outdoors until vaccinations are complete. Limit exposure to other dogs and animals, and don't let him eat or drink anything he shouldn't. I had big problems getting our puppies not to drink from puddles outside.

Training classes here in the US require proof of certain vaccinations before a dog can attend -- but I think this is limited to bordetella (kennel cough) and possibly rabies (though our vet did not recommend a rabies vaccine prior to three months of age). I'm not sure if the UK has similar vaccination rules, however, the threat of Otto catching something from other dogs/puppies (such as in a training class) is more of a worry than him getting something simply from being outside.
posted by tckma at 10:28 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Good for you for taking young Otto to your workplace and to puppy class as soon as possible. It is far more important to find and expose your pup to all sorts of sights, sounds, people, and other dogs during his socialization window (which closes just about 16 weeks) than to fear the relatively smaller risk of disease. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) specifically says it is important to socialize your puppy before fully vaccinated. I suspect the similar organizations in the UK have similar policies. In fact, the AVSAB points out that "Behavioral issues, not infectious diseases, are the number one cause of death for dogs under three years of age."

So yes, you should be taking him outside regularly and often as soon as possible. Make sure your puppy class requires proof of vaccination at the appropriate times. Avoid dog parks and other areas where people are unlikely to vaccinate their dogs (for instance, we have a very poor part of town where the rate of vaccinating their dogs is lower than average). He needs to associate the city streets, surfaces, sights and sounds with positive experiences, so taking him outdoors to have fun, positive experiences in a wide variety of settings frequently and asap is extremely beneficial.

If you're curious, here are a few good references: Veterinarian Dr. Sophia Yin's article: Puppy Socialization: Stop Fear before it Starts, Paw Abilities: Puppy Socialization 101, and Paws Abilities: Illustrated Guide to Socializing your Dog. Dr. Yin also has an article that explains why pups sometimes need more than one vaccine: Why puppies need a series of shots. And last, but not least, Dr. Yin gives a solid set of steps to follow for socializing your puppy in her fantastically detailed book "Perfect Puppy in 7 Days".
posted by apennington at 11:36 AM on September 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The vaccine is partially effective before the last dose. But from everything I have seen on the google and based on experience, your dog has to go outside. Your dog needs to be exposed to new things. And more importantly, your dog needs to be socialized (both with other dogs and people). Socialization is more important. No boarding or daycare or dog parks, okay, but on-leash activity.
posted by J. Wilson at 12:25 PM on September 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you all so much for your replies - that settles my mind immensely!

barnone was spot on - we spoke to another vet at the same practice last night (puppy class is held there) and were informed it wasn't safe for him to be attending puppy class or touching the ground right now, but would be fine in a week's time. They were befuddled that we weren't told this when we booked it, but no worries.

We'll keep him bundled up for now, but as of next week we'll start puppy class and start taking him out on the leash for toilet time and small bits of walking. There's another puppy at work who completed her vaccinations a few weeks ago, so we'll let them get closer to each other then as well.

apennnington, many thanks for the links - I cannot read enough about this crucial time of his life.

We'll also keep him away from any amorous wildlife ;). Thanks all!
posted by sektah at 2:36 AM on September 9, 2014

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