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One of the most frustrating things I get from being a vet and breeder is when a client comes in with a newly acquired pup (Less than a week with them) and says “Doc, nagtatae ng dugo, ayaw kumain.” (Doc, it has bloody diarrhea and refuses to eat). Later on I find out that the pup is 6 weeks old and hasn’t been given any immunization whatsoever. WHY in heavens name do they sell pups this young?

Or we have the usual client that comes in with a new pup saying, “Doc, pa-check-up ng bagong pup ko. 2 months old. Complete na daw vaccines sabi ng breeder”. (Doc, can you check my new pup? 2 months old. The breeder said the immunizations are complete.) TWO MONTHS OLD!!! In the first place, I personally think that pups should be sold at AT LEAST 2.5 months, but I personally prefer selling at 3 months. Secondly, it is virtually IMPOSSIBLE for a pup to have complete immunizations at 2 months old!!!!

As a breeder, way before I became a vet, I knew enough to know that vaccines cannot be complete by 2 months; and not to sell my pups too young. This leads me to conclude that so-called “breeders” who sell pups to unwary buyers cannot possibly be stupid enough to believe what they tell their buyers. It frustrates me to see all the UNREPUTABLE AND UNSCRUPULOUS puppy mills in the country. They just give reputable breeders and our country a bad name.

Which brings us to the main point of this article -- vaccinations. So for those of you who are planning to get a pup, pay attention and you’ll find most of this very useful…

Pups are usually taught to eat at 3 weeks old, but this in no way means that you can separate them from their mother this early. At five to six weeks, they are able to walk, run and play on their own and usually have a very big appetite. However, here in the Philippines, it is also at this age that they become more vulnerable to childhood diseases. The maternal antibodies passed through colostrums early in life are starting to decrease. It is about this time that they should be vaccinated. If, however, your pup was bottlefed all throughout, then he will need a vaccine earlier, as he has no protective antibodies.

Parvovirus vaccine is usually the most important vaccine at this stage, since parvovirus is notorious as a puppy-killer. You may opt to have your vet inject a Parvo-Coronavirus vaccine or a DHLPPi vaccine (the 5 in 1 vaccine or the 6 in 1 with corona virus). After 5-6 weeks of age, booster shots for this vaccine should be given about 4 times (depending on the interval and their age) with 2-3 week intervals. Puppy millers who claim that their 2 month old pups have complete vaccinations or need just one more could have given 3-4 vaccine boosters, but it does not necessarily mean that these are protective. Puppy millers are usually just interested to make a buck and don’t really care for the health of the pup. They will vaccinate their pups as early as possible thinking that the sooner 3-4 vaccine shots are given, the sooner pups can be sold. It becomes more attractive for uneducated buyers when they are told that vaccines are complete. In which case, they usually give their first vaccine at 3-4 weeks of age followed by boosters at six and eight weeks of age. What most people don’t realize is that vaccinating too early may do more harm than good. When you vaccinate at 3-4 weeks, it is very likely that the pups are still protected by maternal antibodies, as such, exposing them to a vaccine at this age is useless and more dangerous since virus antigens from the vaccines deplete maternal antibodies instead of creating an immune response.

Immunizing your pups is much like having your bitch bred, it’s not the number of times they were vaccinated, it’s in the TIMING. The idea is to vaccinate just when maternal protection is gone so that the puppy can mount the appropriate immune response to the vaccine. You can give your pup just two vaccines and this may be as effective as 4 or even 5 vaccinations, as long as your timing is right. Which is why I usually advise my clients (and I do the same for my kennel) to have their pup’s antibody titer checked before the first vaccine and after the last shot. Your vet should have a parvovirus & distemper IgG test kit for this purpose

Vaccination regimens may vary depending on your vet and this is the regimen we usually follow, with some exceptions :

Recommended Vaccination and Deworming Regimen

Vaccination of pups


Vaccine + deworming

2-3 weeks

All wormer deworming

(no heartworm preventive) – pups and bitch

4-5 weeks

Repeat all wormer deworming (pups & bitch)

5-6 weeks

Parvo Vaccine or DHLPP

8-9 weeks

DHLPPi Vaccine

11-12 weeks

DHLPPi Vaccine + All wormer dewormer

16 weeks

DHLPPi + Rabies Vaccine + Heartworm preventive

18 weeks

Bordetella Vaccine

** ELISA Tests for Antibody titer is still the best prior to first shot and following the last shot

Booster shots :

Vaccine / dewormer


Leptospirosis Vaccine

Every 6 months or yearly

Bordetella Vaccine

Every 6 months or yearly

DHLPPi Vaccine

Every Year

Rabies Vaccine

Every Year (required by law)

Heartworm Preventive

Monthly or yearly

All wormer dewormer

Every 3 months (can be given less frequently if pet is free of fleas)

This vaccination schedule serves only as a guideline. This may vary depending on circumstances and constraints.

If you have any questions feel free to call me. I’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.





Philippine Canine Club Inc.

Bureau of Animal Industry

Orthopedic Foundation for Animals



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