Vaccinations for puppies begin as early as age six weeks. The second injection will be given on the tenth week and the third on the fourteenth week. After that, it is once a year.

The core vaccines consist of CPV (Canine Parvovirus), CDV (Canine Distemper) and rabies.

Your trusted veterinarian will advise the sequence of vaccinations that are required in a timely manner so puppy/dog’s shots are all covered.

Below is a more detailed info of each virus that the vaccine covers and how detrimental it is to puppy/dog if the shots are not given.

CPV (Canine Parvovirus)

Common dangerous disease

Highly contagious to other dogs but not to humans

Attacks the gastrointestinal tract and immune system causing severe bloody diarrhoea and vomiting. Can also attack the heart of young puppies.

Transmitted through direct contact with infected dogs or infected faeces. Easily carried on hands, food dishes and leashes even contaminated cages

No specific drug to ward off this virus but treatment is intended to support the dog’s immune system until the dog can fight off the viral infection. Treatment usually starts off intensively by combatting dehydration by replacing with electrolytes, protein and fluid losses controlling vomiting and diarrhoea and preventing secondary infection. Early and aggressive treatment are very important for successful outcomes. With proper treatment, survival rates can reach up to 90 to 95%.

CPV is highly contagious therefore the dog is in an isolated ward. Cages would be cleaned twice daily morning and late evening. Not an easy virus to kill so a strong bleach is used according the veterinarian’s instructions.

CDV (Canine Distemper)

Highly contagious among dogs

Not contagious to humans

Affects the gastrointestinal, respiratory, skin, immune, and central nervous systems

Symptoms take up to 14 days before physical signs are shown

Signs are fever, nasal discharge, eye discharge, lethargy, sneezing, coughing, difficulty breathing, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, pneumonia, skin sores, pain. Can also cause brain inflammation and neurological symptoms which is often confused with rabies. Neurological symptoms include: muscle twitching, head tilt, circling, involuntary eye movements, seizures, chewing-gum fits, paralysis or partial paralysis

Animals get infected from contact with infected urine, blood, saliva, or respiratory droplets. Of these, transmission usually happens through droplets. It can be spread through coughing and sneezing or contaminated food and water bowls.

Your dog can get CDV by being around other dogs or wild animals that have the virus. Puppies or older dogs that haven’t been vaccinated are most vulnerable. Dogs in shelters may also be vulnerable since their vaccinations may not be up to date.


Rabies is fatal but a preventable disease

It is zoonotic whereby it can affect humans and pets by being bitten or scratched by a rabid animal

Rabies affects the central nervous system. If appropriate medical care isn’t provided, the virus can cause disease in the brain.

Rabies can be prevented by vaccinating your dogs and staying away from wildlife and seeking medical care immediately after exposure before the symptoms start

After reading the above, it is most important your puppy’s or dog’s vaccinations are up to date to avoid any issue and also, it is also the responsibility of being a pet parent.

Another virus to take note of is:

Kennel Cough

Common culprit is a bacterium called Bordetella bronchiseptica

Known to make dogs more susceptible to contracting Bordetella infection, include canine adenovirus, canine distemper virus, canine herpes virus, parainfluenza virus and canine reovirus. No worries, it is treatable

Dogs inhale bacteria or virus particles into their respiratory tract. This tract is normally lined with a coating of mucus that traps infectious particles, but there are a number of factors that can weaken this protection and make dogs prone to kennel cough infection, which results in inflammation of the larynx (voice box) and trachea (windpipe)

Kennel Cough is usually obtained from crowded shelters or boarding that is not well-ventilated, stress during travel, cigarette smell, and cold temperature

Before boarding, please check the premise inside out before checking-in your dog

As a dog pet parent, you need to do what you can to protect them. The key? The right vaccinations advised by your trusted veterinarian. Always remember that the shots protect your puppy or dog from diseases caused by viruses and bacteria. They can also strengthen their immune system.

Images courtesy of Mama Rose and her children Poppy, Yoda and Snowy.
Content courtesy of Pet Parent, Meem Siah.

Veterinary Nursing 2nd Edition – Edited by D.R. Lane & B. Cooper

This article is courtesy of Pets Corner Sdn Bhd. For more pet care tips, visit