Week old Stabyhoun puppy

The following is adapted from a report produced by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), coupled with expert views and modern research. When it comes to the health and safety of your Stabyhoun puppy, the choice and responsibility is ultimately yours and that of the breeder’s. So read, learn, ask around as much as you can and then decide for yourself.

Core vaccinations for dogs

The WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group (VGG) has defined core vaccines which ALL dogs, regardless of circumstances, should receive to protect them from severe, life-threatening diseases that have global distribution. These are as follows:

Canine distemper virus (CDV)
Canine adenovirus (CAV)
Canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2)

In areas of the world where rabies virus infection is endemic, vaccination against this agent should also be considered core even if there is no legal requirement for routine vaccination.

When to vaccinate your puppy

When puppies are very young, they are protected from disease by ingesting their mother’s first milk which contains vital maternal antibodies. These antibodies, however, also interfere with the efficiency of the core vaccines: rendering them inactive in the same way they would a virus.

How long the puppy is protected by its mum’s antibodies can vary significantly from litter to litter and even from puppy to puppy. To get a head-start, many puppies are therefore given their first vaccination at 6-8 weeks, then again at 12 weeks, with some being given a third vaccination at the age of 16 weeks. The second and third vaccination do not add anything ‘new’ –  they are a repetition in case the mum’s antibodies interfered with the previous ones.

Research has suggested that giving puppies a single vaccination at the age of 12 weeks could in fact be the most effective, and the safest. If you decide to go with this latter option, please remember to keep your puppy away from areas where there is a lot of dog traffic – including the vet’s. Carry them to and from safe and clean places where you can socialise your puppy until they are old enough to safely receive their vaccination.

Isn’t it better to be safe than sorry?

Traditionally, vets and vaccine manufacturers have gone with the ‘more is better’ approach. Recent studies, however, have highlighted a series of risks associated with vaccinations. That is why the UK Stabyhoun Association is advocating a more intelligent and moderate approach to vaccinations which takes into account all the associated risks – not just the risk of contracting one of the three diseases mentioned above.

If you only wish to vaccinate your puppy once, bearing in mind the risks associated with socialising a puppy that has not been given the three vaccinations above, this should be given at the age of 12-14 weeks when its mother’s antibodies are most unlikely to interfere.

12 month booster vaccination

At the age of 12 months, most dogs are given a booster vaccination to make absolutely sure they are protected. After this point, the VGG recommends that core vaccines should not be given any more frequently than every three years. In fact, modern research suggests that some core vaccinations may last for the lifetime of your dog and, as such, continued vaccinations may cause more harm than good.

As a result, we are beginning to see a rise in the use of simple titre tests – carried out by your vet – to determine whether your dog is still immune to the infections it was originally vaccinated against. This is to prevent fresh but unnecessary vaccines being given; needlessly stressing your dog’s immune system and increasing the risk of autoimmune diseases.

Click here to read more about vaccine risks and then decide for yourself…

The following link takes you to an article about vaccinations and titre testing written by Holistic Vet, Vicky Payne.