Blog - Vaccinations

Posted Monday, 29 February 2016

I have noticed recently that there are more responsible dog breeders starting the vaccination process for puppies before the owners adopt them. This is great as it means that puppies can start to go out earlier which enables earlier socialisation than if vaccinations were started post adoption. Vaccinations can be started around 7 weeks. Although most vaccine brands would not recommend boosters before the age of ten weeks, it is said that up to 95% of pups will gain full immunity after the first vaccination with a further 5% requiring the booster to get full immunity. However, the earlier vaccination should reduce risk of disease for most and could enable puppies to go outdoors about a week earlier than if the breeder didn’t start the vaccination process before adoption.

The trouble is, if your puppy has started the vaccination with a different vaccine brand than that stocked by your vet, vets are starting the whole vaccination process from the beginning with the brand that they do stock. This is because vets have to buy vaccines in larger batches and will invariably have made their choice based on a number of factors including confidence of the brand they stock and local requirements (e.g. risk of disease). This, unfortunately, means that pups are having unnecessary additional vaccinations and there are no benefits to the breeder starting the vaccination process for you. This costs you more money as you will have paid for the vaccinations done by the breeder, but there are no benefits as your pup still can’t go out until the puppy is fully vaccinated.

I see this as a growing issue as more breeders become more responsible and start off the vaccination process using their own vet who may favour a different brand of vaccine. We simply can’t expect vets to stock all brands of vaccine as they have a short shelf life which would result in waste. It would be difficult for vets to exchange vaccine with other vets due to the way information is managed about the different batches of vaccine. There doesn't appear to be an easy answer to this issue.

In the meantime, I suggest that if you are buying a puppy from a reputable breeder who will start vaccinations from 7 weeks, ask the breeder which brand of vaccine they will be using. Ask your chosen vet if they stock it, or are able to stock it. If they are unable to stock that vaccine, find a vet in your area that stocks this brand so that you can complete the vaccination programme after which, you will be able to move back to your preferred vet. This prevents unnecessary over vaccination and should enable your pup to go out a bit earlier.