It is critical to the safety and well-being of your Westie and other dogs to make sure that you follow an established vaccination regime.
While there may be special situations in different areas that require additional vaccinations, the basic shots for dogs will be the same.
Check with your local veterinarian, breeder or pet store for literature and information on vaccination protocols for your location.
The following vaccinations are required for puppies at 7, 10, 13 and 16 weeks of age:
Often these various vaccines are combined in one vaccination called DHLP-P. Annual boosters will be required after this to keep the puppies and dogs healthy and free from these conditions.
Antibodies From Mum
Up to the age of about 8 weeks the antibodies received from the mother dog will protect the puppies. Puppies that are being kennelled or in contact with other dogs may also require an internasal bordetella vaccination at 8 to 16 weeks.
This prevents against kennel cough and is required before the puppy can be left at most reputable kennels. If the puppy or dog is in contact with other dogs frequently, this internasal treatment should be repeated every six months.
Rabies shots will be given between 4 to 6 months. They will require rabies shots yearly, and in some areas an additional booster may be needed between the first shot and the second yearly vaccination.
Your veterinarian can advise you on any other vaccinations that may be required. Additional diseases that can be treated with vaccinations are:
- Lyme Disease: can cause some arthritis and lethargy in the short term. It is usually not fatal in dogs and can be treated with antibiotics. The dog can have relapses from the disease months after the infection if it has not been vaccinated.
- Coronavirus: will cause diarrhea in puppies that can be serious if another condition co-exists. The coronavirus will not be serious or fatal unless combined with parvo or other more serious disease.
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to keep your dog’s vaccinations up to date. Disease like parvovirus, rabies and parainfluenza, which can cause death in puppies and adult dogs, can only be controlled if all dog owners responsibly vaccinate their dogs every year.
A vaccination works by introducing a killed or altered form of a disease to the dog in a manner that is not harmful to the animal. The animal’s immune system responds by making antibodies to fight the vaccination.
When the animal is exposed to the disease in the future, the body already has the antibodies to fight the disease, and the animal does not become ill.
Occasionally some Westies may have a side effect to vaccinations. They may appear tired, or refuse to eat for up to forty-eight hours after having the vaccination. They may scratch at the injection site, develop hives or a swelling of the face. They may also begin to vomit.
If this happens you should immediately contact the vet, who can then prescribe antihistamines to counteract the reaction. In the future, the vet will give the antihistamine with the vaccination to prevent the reaction from occurring.
It may not be advisable to vaccinate dogs that are already ill with an existing condition, even if it is not one that the vaccine is for. If your dog appears to be sick, has been vomiting or not eating, or generally listless and unhealthy, discuss this with your veterinarian before proceeding with the vaccinations.
Occasionally the veterinarian will recommend treatment of the existing condition prior to vaccination.
Puppies should not be vaccinated prior to 6 weeks of age, as they do not have the ability to develop the antibodies. Female Westies should not be vaccinated while pregnant or nursing, unless under the direction of a veterinarian.