I have had several dogs over the years and have always given them their appropriate puppy vaccines. I am now at a new vet due to a move and a new puppy and they are saying that the puppy shots are now a series of 4 shots instead of the regular 3 that I remember. When I have questioned the staff (vet tech not the vet) I don't get a straight answer about 4 shots instead of 3. I was also told not to have the puppy around other dogs until he has had all 4 shots which will put him at 18 weeks. Since he is a mastiff, I feel that early socialization is very important but obviously don't want to risk my new puppies health. Does anybody know why they are pushing 4 shots instead of 3 and what benefits there would be that would be worth delaying the socialization of the dog?
Hi & congratulations on your wanting to take the best possible care of your Mastiff puppy. I am especially happy to see you wanting to balance medical health with behavioral health.
The reason that puppy vaccination protocols vary so much is because there is no one exact way to do it right. When a vaccine is first given to a puppy, it may or may not "take". The reason it may not "take" is because the puppy has antibodies circulating in his bloodstream from the mother's colostrum. The antibodies prevent the vaccine from doing its job, but they are protecting the puppy for the time being. These antibodies wear off at a different pace for each puppy, some as early as 6 weeks, others not until 10 weeks or later.
Puppy vaccinations are given at regular intervals with the hopes that one vaccine will land in the puppy's immune system at the right time as the mother's colostrum is wearing off. Then, here's the kicker - the first vaccine that lands when the puppy's immune system is ready for it is really the FIRST shot (even though it may be the second or third vaccine administered). That one still has to be boostered to provide lasting immunity.
To be safe, most veterinarians want to administer vaccinations monthly until the puppy is older than 16 or 20 weeks, depending on breed and disease prevalence in your area.
I would encourage you to take your now 15 week old puppy to meet adult dogs with current vaccination histories as long as he has had two vaccinations separated by 4 weeks.
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