A puppy can develop antibodies or protection against disease after it is vaccinated. This immune response starts approximately 7-21 days after vaccination and continues for many years. If they get more than one vaccine simultaneously, this protection may last slightly longer, depending on the combination of vaccines used.
Their immune response started by the previous vaccine may not have enough time to develop if their shot is overdue. So, an additional vaccine dose or booster may be necessary.
When to Give Vaccines to Pets
The first vaccine, called “puppy starter” or “initial vaccine,” is often given to puppies at six weeks old, just like kitten shots. However, puppies start to make their own antibodies as early as 3 or 4 weeks of age. Very young puppies that were spayed and neutered may not get protection from certain illnesses they would receive if they remained intact until full maturation was reached (at least over seven months). You could begin puppy vaccinations after seven months of age if your dogs were not vaccinated before.
The first vaccine should be followed by additional vaccines every 3-4 weeks until the pup has reached 12 weeks of age. If you need a reputable animal clinic and hospital, you may visit Creature Comforts Veterinary Hospital. Check their website for more info about their services.
Negatives Effects of Delayed Pet Vaccination
Since there are many necessary shots during the early stages of a puppy’s life, missing even one vaccine can negatively impact their health.
1. They May Become Vulnerable to Diseases
It may not be easy to complete the entire series of shots before your puppy is 12 weeks old if you miss an appointment, leaving them vulnerable since they need their first round of vaccinations by that age.
2. Risk of Fatal Diseases
Because immunity takes a little while to build up in the body after vaccination, there is a risk that your puppy won’t be fully protected if they miss one shot. This increases the risk of contracting deadly diseases like parvovirus that can cause vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and lethargy. Parvo is fatal in 80 percent of dogs that contract it without treatment.
Furthermore, puppies that contracted a virus before their immune system is fully developed tend to develop a dangerous condition called “vaccine-associated sarcoma.” This results from over-reactivity by the body’s immune system when vaccinated.
3. Worrying of Going to Public Places for Possible Catching of Diseases
In case your puppy misses just one shot and goes out in public places where other dogs go, they could catch diseases that their vaccines aren’t protecting them against. These include kennel cough, parainfluenza, and Lyme disease. The good news is that these illnesses don’t usually result in severe health problems for vaccinated pups, but they can still cause coughing and discomfort.
If you start your pup’s vaccination series on time but miss some of the scheduled boosters along the way, you can catch up any time in the future. However, after completing their initial series, they need a full round of boosters to protect themselves against diseases fully.
What You Should Do
1. It’s never too late to vaccinate older puppies and adult dogs. Even if it has been a year or more since their last vaccine, it is always safe to bring them to your vet for an exam and booster shots. But it may take longer than one day for new vaccines to start taking effect because of their relatively mature immune systems.
2. Contact local rescue groups, veterinary offices, shelters, and non-profit humane societies for help. Seek help from these organizations if you worry about the cost of boosters or have encountered some other financial hardships that may have left you unable to provide their vaccinations on time. They often vaccinate animals who are in need for a small fee.
3. Finally, keep records of your puppies’ vaccine dates. Write down every time you bring them to the vet with the date of each shot so that if questions arise, you can show documentation. And if you feel guilty about missing a shot or two during your pup’s early puppyhood, do your best to make it up and provide them with ongoing protection against deadly diseases.
You can’t go back to complete the vaccination series of your dogs, but by keeping their appointments from now on, you allow them to stay healthy for life. But note that vaccinations are just a part of their overall healthcare. They also need other interventions, including nutrition, deworm, dental care, grooming, routine assessment for pain, etc.
This means you need to bring them to a specialist if necessary. Find out here about vet surgery procedures, recovery, and pain management.