When puppies are 6 to 8 weeks old, they should receive their first set of vaccinations. Usually, it's the 5-in-1, DHLPP combination vaccination.
There is also a version of that vaccine, the DA2PP, that is the same as the one above, but this one leaves out the leptospirosis faction. The H in the DHLPP and the A2 in the DA2PP are the same thing, they are for adenovirus or hepatitis, so sometimes it is denoted with the A it's denoted with the H.
While leptospirosis is a serious disease, sometimes dogs, and especially puppies, will react badly to it, so if you live in a part of the country where leptospirosis is not a problem, sometimes people opt to give their pets the vaccine without the lepto in it. Dogs get leptospirosis from drinking or otherwise ingesting water where some type of wildlife has urinated or defecated, thereby contaminating that water. They don't necessarily have to drink the water, they can wade in it, their fur gets wet, and then they lick their fur, and that's all it takes if the water is infected with the virus.
The first vaccines should be given after the puppies are weaned from their mothers. Maternal antibodies, the antibodies that they get from the colostrum in their mother's milk, will protect them for anywhere from a week to two weeks or even a couple of days longer, depending on how strong their mother's immunity was. If you give the vaccine too soon after they are weaned, there could be an interference from the maternal antibodies with regard to the vaccine taking hold, that's why you want to wait as long as you can, without leaving the puppy unprotected for too long, before giving the vaccinations.
Something else you need to keep in mind with regard to maternal antibodies is that if the mother was never vaccinated for something, she will not be passing along any antibodies against that thing. For example, if the mother was never vaccinated against parvovirus, there will be no maternal antibody protection against parvovirus, so if the mother has never been vaccinated, you can give the puppy vaccines as early as 6 weeks so that the puppies are protected. Of course, it would also be a good idea to vaccinate the mother as well, if she has never been vaccinated. Give one shot and follow it up with a booster shot 3 weeks to a month later.
Some vaccines must be given separately because there is no way to combine them with the others. The bordetella bronchiseptica vaccine, for example, protects them from canine cough, but this vaccine is not given in injection form, it is a liquid that is squirted into the nostrils. Most of the bordetella vaccines now have a one-nostril claim, which means that you can squirt the whole dose into one nostril and the dog will be totally protected. This type of vaccine sets up a local immunity, meaning it's not in the dog's entire system, it is concentrated in the nasal passages, which is where the germs will be inhaled. Some of these vaccines take a couple of weeks to be fully effective, some of them provide some immunity immediately after they are given, with full immunity after seven days. If you are going away on vacation and are going to be boarding your dog, it's a good idea to ask your vet what type of b.bronchiseptica vaccine they use, since boarding kennels require proof of vaccination for canine cough and you want to be sure your dog will have full immunity in the face of a heavy challenge like a boarding kennel.
Rabies vaccinations are usually given to puppies 6 months of age and older. These are the only vaccinations that are required by law, since rabies poses such a serious threat to the health of the general community.
Well, that's a brief overview of all the vaccinations that are needed to keep puppies (and dogs) healthy. If there is anything specific that you need more information on, please feel free to ask away. I will try to help you to the best of my ability.
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