Puppy & Adult Health Program And Vaccination Schedule

Congratulations on the new addition to your family! There's nothing like the love of a warm, fuzzy puppy. We want to help you keep your puppy healthy and happy. Regularly scheduled vaccinations are important for building your puppy's immunity to several serious dog diseases. The examination we perform at each visit will also help us detect any common puppy-hood problems or illnesses. Remember that we are always pleased to answer any questions about raising your puppy; please feel free to bring a list with you or call at any time. Here's a schedule of visits and vaccinations that we ask you to follow:

Core Vaccinations

Core vaccines are recommended for all dogs

6-8 weeks old
  • 1st examination
  • 1st DHLPP (Distemper; Hepatitis; Leptospirosis; Parvovirus; Parainfluenza)
  • Bring a fresh stool sample so we may check for intestinal parasites; refrigerate the sample
9-12 weeks old
  • 2nd examination
  • 2nd DHLPP. This is done 3-4 weeks after the 1st DHLPP
12+ weeks old
  • Rabies vaccination and examination. This first rabies vaccination is
    good for only 1 year; subsequent vaccinations last for 3 years.
  • Bring a fresh stool sample so we may check for intestinal parasites; refrigerate the sample
13-16 weeks old
  • 3rd examination
  • 3rd DHLPP. This is done 3-4 weeks after the second vaccination
  • The DHLPP vaccine will last for 1 year and will then need to be
    boostered at regular intervals. This booster concludes the series of routine puppy vaccinations.
  • If a puppy starts the series at an early age, 4 vaccinations may be needed; if it starts at a later age, 2 vaccinations
    may be needed in the series.

The most important part of your puppy's visit today was the annual examination. Our veterinarian made certain that your puppy was checked from the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail for any health problems. This annual exam is your best way of keeping your loved one in tip-top health. Growing puppies especially need several examinations during the first few months of their life due to their bodies constantly changing.

DHLPP (5-in-1) vaccine

This vaccination protects against:

DISTEMPER This is a widespread virus that causes high mortality in dogs. Dogs at the greatest risk for contracting this virus are puppies and young dogs with low or no immunity.
  • Effects: various body tissues
  • Symptoms: diarrhea, fever, nasal & ocular discharge, respiratory disease, appetite loss & neurological signs such as muscular spasms or paralysis.
  • Transmission: Contagious to other dogs by coming in contact with respiratory secretions.
  • Outcome: often fatal
HEPATITIS A disease caused by k9 adenovirus type 1 and is a worldwide disease in dogs.
  • Effects: the liver, kidneys, spleen and lungs.
  • Symptoms: fever and abnormal bleeding, loss of white blood cells, and in some cases "blue eye" opacity of the eye.
  • Transmission: Contagious to other dogs shed in the urine and can survive outside of the host for weeks or months.
  • Outcome: death, chronic hepatitis or severe illness, gradual recovery in nonfatal cases.
LEPTOSPIROSIS This is a bacterial infection most common in the North East.
  • Effects: the kidneys and liver.
  • Symptoms: fever, anorexia, depression and generalized pain.
  • Transmission: Contagious to other dogs by coming in contact directly with the infected dog, or indirectly with its saliva or urine, drinking, swimming in or walking through contaminated water.
  • Outcome: kidney failure, liver failure, or death.
PARVOVIRUS A virus that is one of the most common gastrointestinal viruses. Most frequently seen in dogs less than 1 yr of age.
  • Effects: bone marrow, intestinal tract and immune system.
  • Symptoms: profuse diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, abdominal (pot belly) distension or discomfort, lethargy, anorexia, vomiting, and fever.
  • Transmission: EXTREMELY contagious to other dogs and strikes rapidly without warning! Shed in feces of infected dog. The feces and the contaminated ground remain infectious for 5+ months. They can contract this virus anywhere dogs come together-parks, kennels, shelters, and pet stores.
  • Outcome: most adult dogs recover, as many as 25% to 50% of infected puppies die from the disease if not diagnosed and treated immediately.
PARAINFLUENZA This is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus, which produces a mild respiratory tract infection. It replicates mainly in the nose, pharynx and bronchi, and usually does not progress to the lungs. The virus works to "paralyze" the mechanism that helps to clear mucous from the respiratory tract and allows bacteria to descend.
  • Effects: respiratory tract
  • Symptoms: mild or severe symptoms, unproductive cough, nasal discharge, high fever, severe respiratory symptoms.
  • Transmission: easily transmitted through the air or by direct contact, especially in kennels or among dogs living together
  • Outcome: can be fatal if becomes pneumonia.

Rabies Vaccine

  • The standard killed-virus vaccines are available for puppies and dogs after the initial dose, which is good for one year; subsequent doses are good for three years.
  • Even if your dog only goes outside to go the bathroom, they are still at risk for contracting rabies. If an infected bat came into your house and your dog caught it, or if you were walking your dog outside and they were attacked by another animal are examples of possible situations where your dog could contract this fatal disease.
  • If your dog is bit by another animal with unknown rabies vaccination, or by wildlife, you must bring your dog to the vet immediately for a rabies booster despite being up to date of the vaccination, if it's been more than 6 months since its last rabies vaccine.
  • Only mammals are susceptible to infection, and wildlife is the primary animal group where infection occurs. When wildlife comes into contact with humans or domestic animals, rabies becomes a public health problem.
  • Despite vaccination being readily available, every year the U.S. reports several human deaths from rabies, not to mention hundreds of dog and cat deaths.
  • Rabies is untreatable once symptoms begin despite all the resources of modern medicine. It is important to take its threat seriously.
  • It is because of rabies that most municipalities have dog licensing requirements in order to ensure that the community's dogs are vaccinated.
  • If your dog ever bit someone you would have to prove with a rabies certificate that the dog is up to date on the rabies vaccine. A rabies tag is not a legal form of identification! Therefore you must keep your original rabies certificate.
  • In Orange County New York if your dog is overdue on this vaccine, they will be quarantined for a period of 10 days following the bite of a human being.
  • In Orange County New York if your unvaccinated or overdue dog is bit by another animal with unknown rabies vaccine status, your dog will then be quarantined for 6 months in an approved facility.

Optional Vaccinations

There are three other vaccinations available which you may need to have your puppy receive. We can advise you on whether or not they should be given.
Bordetella "kennel cough" vaccine
  • It protects against a severe upper respiratory infection which causes a cough caused by a bacterium known as Bordetella bronchiseptica and Canine Parainfluenza virus. It is EXTREMELY contagious to other dogs.
  • Most kennels/groomers require this vaccine if you will plan to board your pet at a kennel, take it to be groomed, shown in dog shows, puppy/obedience classes, and recommended if going to the dog park.
  • Nasal spray vaccine is given as early as 3 weeks of age and older. Boostered annually.
  • Injectable vaccine is given 8 weeks of age and older and boostered 2-4 weeks after the first injection, then boostered annually.
  • Required route of administration may be determined by the dog's temperament and kennel requirements.
  • Symptoms of "kennel cough" include: "honking" cough like croup, not eating well, lethargy, fever, runny eyes & nose, depression, and swollen tonsils. Symptoms appear often within a few days of exposure.
Canine Influenza
  • It protects against influenza A virus known as H3N8 respiratory virus.
  • Canine influenza virus only affects dogs.
  • It is highly contagious to other dogs. Virtually every dog exposed to the virus will become infected.
  • Dogs have no natural immunity because it's a relatively new virus.
  • It is recommended and may be required if you will plan to board your pet at a kennel, daycare, take it to be groomed, shown in dog shows, puppy/obedience classes, and recommended if going to the dog park.
  • Injectable vaccine may be given at 6 weeks of age and older and boostered 2-4 weeks after the first injection, then boostered annually.
  • Symptoms include: a persistent cough either a soft, moist "productive cough" or a dry cough similar to kennel cough; low-grade fever, nasal discharge, lack of energy, loss of appetite, and cough for up to a month.
Lyme disease vaccine
  • 1st vaccination 9 weeks of age and older. Booster required 2-3 weeks later. If your dog will be exposed to ticks at all, we recommend that they receive the Lyme vaccination to help protect them against this serious disease.
  • This vaccination is not 100% effective. However, dogs that contract the disease and have received this vaccination have shown milder symptoms.
  • This vaccination in conjunction with good flea & tick preventative products such as Vectra, Preventic collar or Scalibor collar are your best defense against this prevalent disease.
  • Symptoms of Lyme disease include: limping, fever, swollen joints, kidney failure, not eating well, and general lethargy.

Flea and Tick Preventative

  • There are many new products on the market which can be applied topically to the skin to control fleas and/or ticks. In general, supermarket products are not very effective. Those available from pet stores work better. However, we have many products available only through veterinarians that work very well. Our clients have been very pleased with their effectiveness and safety.
    Product options:
    Vectra D- (Repels and kills fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, mites, sand flies, biting & sucking lice for up to 1 month)
    Scalibor collar-(kills fleas & ticks for up to 6 months! Water resistant)
    K9 Advantix- (kills fleas & ticks, repels mosquitoes & ticks for up to 1 month)
    Revolution- (kills fleas, treats & controls ear mites and sarcoptic mange, and prevents heartworm disease for up to 1 month)
    Preventic collar- (kills and detaches ticks for up to 3 months)
    Advantage- (kills fleas only for up to 1 month)
  • Many people don't realize that when their pet has Tapeworms (rice sized worm) it means their pet has swallowed a flea. Generally any pet with Tapeworms should be treated for fleas.
  • Ticks are a prevalent problem in the Northeast. Now, more than recent years, we are seeing a rising percentage of tick born diseases in our dogs. Lyme disease and Anaplasma are among the most common tick born illnesses we see on a DAILY basis here at Otterkill Animal Hospital. Giving a monthly preventative is essential to providing the best defense against these parasites that are causing problems for our pets.
To learn more go to www.dogsandticks.com

Heartworm and Intestinal Parasite Prevention

Canine heartworm disease is becoming an increasingly widespread disease in the Northeastern states including NY, NJ, CT, and PA. What used to be thought of as a southern state canine health problem is now more common in the Northeast and our dogs are more at risk for contracting this potentially fatal disease. We have seen an increase in heartworm positive cases in the last few years since Hurricanes Katrina and Irene. Dogs were being rescued from stagnant water environments and brought up to the Northeastern states through rescue organizations and unfortunately bringing the disease with them.
  • Microscopic heartworm larvae (juvenile worms) of a parasite called Dirofilaria immitis. As a mosquito feeds, these microscopic larvae are deposited in the dog and quickly penetrate the skin to begin their migration into the dog's bloodstream. Adult heartworms can grow 10 to 12 inches in length and make their home in the right side of the heart and pulmonary (lung) arteries, often causing lung disease and heart failure.
  • Heartworms can be prevented by giving a once monthly preventative oral tablet like Interceptor or a topical product like Revolution. The best way to eliminate the risk of heartworm infection in your dog is to give the preventative year-round. Your dog will be blood tested every year for this disease.
  • Heartworm preventatives are effective when given properly and on a timely schedule. These medications are quickly eliminated from a dog's body shortly after being given and do not continue to protect dogs from future infection. Instead, they eliminate infections acquired since the last dose.
  • Heartworm preventatives also have the added benefit of de-worming your dog for several different zoonotic intestinal parasites each month. Among these parasites are hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms.
  • Heartworm preventative is recommended for all year round use regardless of how much time they spend outside. There are several heartworm & intestinal parasite preventatives available to you. Your veterinarian will discuss which the best option for you is. We will begin your puppy on this preventative medication once it has reached 8-12 weeks of age.
•Interceptor •Sentinel •Heartgard Plus •Revolution
For more information on heartworm disease go to www.heartwormsociety.org

Spaying or Neutering Your Dog

To avoid over population and unnecessary major health problems in your dog, we recommend spaying (female) or neutering (male) your dog if you don't plan on breeding them. Each dog is different, but the average female heat (estrus) cycle begins around 6-12 months of age. This is also the time when male dogs become sexually mature and begin displaying mating behavior. It is at this age or beginning as early as 4 months that we recommend you spay or neuter your dog. In larger breed dogs we recommend waiting until they are over a year to avoid possible ligament issues when they are older. The average female heat cycle lasts 12-21 days and occurs on average twice a year.

Some of the medical & behavioral conditions you can avoid by spaying or neutering your dog:
  • Pyometra (pus-filled uterus) a common life-threatening condition in the female.
  • Mammary cancer in the male and female
  • Ovarian cancer in the female
  • Testicular cancer in the male
  • Anal fistulas in the male
  • Perianal tumors in the male
  • Prostate cancer in the male
  • Enlarged prostate in the male
  • Aggression
  • Urge to roam
  • Urine marking
The cost of spaying and neutering a pet is less than the cost of raising puppies for one year. In the span of six years, an un-spayed female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies.

Microchip (Permanent ID) Implantation

  • We want to make sure that you and your dog are never separated. Your dog should be permanently identified so that if it is lost it can be readily returned to you. Collar ID tags are a good idea, but they can be easily lost or stolen. Tattooing can also be done but may become hard to read as the dog ages.
  • We recommend permanent identification through use of AKC Companion Animal Recovery (CAR) microchip and registration. This is a rice-sized microchip which is implanted subcutaneously (under the skin) and stays there for its entire life. Your dog does not need to be sedated to do this. It can be given at your next appointment.
  • If your dog is ever lost or stolen a universal scanner can read the code in the microchip. Your dog's contact information is kept at a registry maintained by the AKC which allows you to be located and reunited with your dog.
  • We are pleased to offer this breakthrough technology, which can be implanted at any visit. The microchip is administered like a vaccine, except with a wider needle. Ask us for a demonstration at your next visit.

Pet Health Insurance

Did you know that you can purchase health insurance for your pet? Pet health insurance companies provide policies that function much like your major medical policy and will provide assistance in paying for illness, emergencies, and even routine veterinary visits. There are several insurance companies to choose from. We have narrowed it down to a few of the most commonly used insurance companies. We also have brochures available if you'd like further information on a specific company.
Embrace Pet insurance

Pets Best Insurance

Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI)

ASPCA pet health insurance

PetFirst Healthcare
Trupanion pet insurance

Petplan insurance

Pets healthcare plan
The Hartsville Group Inc.

AKC Pet Partners Inc.

We hope you find this information helpful. Keeping your dog healthy is important to us. We will help you keep track of your puppy's vaccination schedule; we'll send you a reminder via mail or email when an annual vaccine is due. Remember that we are available to help you in any way we can with your new puppy/dog. We love to answer questions!

Best of luck with your new puppy!!