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Pamela A. Davol, 76 Mildred Avenue, Swansea, MA  02777-1620.

Vaccination and Immunity

The purpose of vaccinating is to prevent the development of disease by either preventing or limiting infection. "Passive" immunity is provided to newborn puppies immediately after birth when they ingest their mother's milk (colostrum) which is rich in protective antibodies manufactured by the mother's immune system. This type of immunity only protects puppies for short periods of time (6 - 10 weeks) and the degree of protection varies depending on the immunity of the mother and the amount of colostrum ingested. "Active" immunity is attained when the dog produces its own antibodies in response to injection of a specific vaccine or as a result of recovering from an infectious disease (natural immunity). Immunity of this type when resulting from vaccination has a longer duration (6 months - 3 yrs depending on the vaccine) than passive immunity, and in some instances natural immunity can protect for a lifetime. A vaccine's ability to produce an immune response is dependent on many factors. In puppies, the passive immunity obtained from the mother which protects it for the first few weeks of life can, however, interfere with subsequent vaccinations attempting to develop active immunity. For this reason and others, many puppies do not develop protective immunity even though they are vaccinated. As a result, these puppies will be at high risk to infectious disease once the passive immunity wears off. The following vaccination schedule has been designed to ensure proper development of active immunity while providing protection against infectious disease in puppies and adult dogs.

Canine Vaccination Schedule



  1. distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, adenovirus type 2,  parvovirus, corona virus, leptospirosis, lyme disease, and kennel cough
  2. rabies (some states require a booster within 10-months from the first rabies inoculation)


Although this schedule provides the surest protection, it is recommended that owners of puppies under 4 months of age avoid bringing their puppies to show, obedience, field etc. events where they may come into contact with other dogs potentially harboring infectious disease until the initial booster schedule is completed.

A Note To Our Puppy's New Parents

At Wing-N-Wave we are firm believers in preventative medicine in the form of annual veterinarian examinations, vaccinations, and annual heartworm testing and preventative medications; therefore, our vaccination schedule is rigorous. We recommend that you discuss a suitable vaccination schedule with your veterinarian. We would like to stress the importance of a booster vaccine at or after 20 weeks of age since researchers have found maternal antibodies still present in puppies as late as 18 weeks of age which would interfere with active immunity. Additionally, please note that we do not vaccinate for leptospirosis under 14 weeks of age. This is because the lepto component of combination vaccines has been found to inhibit the puppy's immune system from responding to other components of the vaccine (i.e. distemper, parvo, corona, etc.). We do, however, strongly recommend that vaccines containing the lepto component be administered at or after 14 weeks of age and during subsequent boosters.

For More Information and Links Pertaining to Vaccines, Immunity and Disease Please Visit:

        Vaccines, Infectious Diseases and the Canine Immune System

        Canine Leptospirosis: Current Issues on Infection and Vaccination

        Canine Anaphylaxis: A Health Advisory to Dog Owners

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