IMMUNIZATIONS:

I have spent a lot of time researching this topic and discussing it with many vets and feel my puppies have the very best immunization program that any puppy could possibly have.  While there are myriads of opinions on this topic, I believe that ‘all’ dogs do not receive immunizations equally, nor should they all be immunized with the same program.  The tiny breeds I specialize in have one single major life-threatening foe and that is the dreaded ‘Parvo’.  I typically hear from at least one of two buyers that have incurred a personal loss due to this devastating disease.  Almost any or other types of diseases ‘can’ potentially be treated, but Parvo is pratically a dealth-sentence, and survival is 50% at best.  Once contracted, there is no ‘cure’.  A vet will do everything possible to boost the immune system, hoping for a survival, and I believe it could have residual effects, even if the pet is able to survive it.  It is very excruciating and painful to the puppy and emotionally draining to the owner.  Parvo unfortunately is quite prevalent, meaning it’s found virtually anywhere and everywhere.  It can live on the ground for months, and efforts to completely eradicate it from the inside premise are pathetic, at best.  Very few germicides effectively annihilate it, and since it spreads so rampantly and is so contagious, a puppy is virtually completely vulnerable to contracting this most horrible affliction.  Since it is ‘so’ prevalent in veterinarian offices, it is not surprising to know that many puppies actually contract it, soon after their first vet’s visit.  Parvo preys upon young, replicating cells and predominantly takes puppies at a very early age, typically after they are weaned from nursing, and during the first months.  It is much rarer for a dog, past 1 year old, to contract Parvo, although it ‘can’ happen.

Fortunately, Dr. Hatler and the very knowledgeable and successful vets and immunization specialists at Neotech, researched this atrocity thoroughly and studied its characteristics, at great length.  Years ago, they developed an immunization for this, called Neopar, and the results literally speak for themselves.  Since the role of the mother’s antibodies is such key players in determining the puppy’s vulnerability, the ‘timing’ of this immunization is crucial.  Since the optimal time for the immunization is at 5 to 8 weeks, two doses, two weeks apart, it is almost incumbent upon a breeder to administer this.  Most puppy buyers buy there puppies after 8 weeks of age, and the ‘best’ window-of-opportunity has passed.  Even after this optimal time for immunization against Parvo has passed, it is ‘still’ very much in the puppy’s best interest to receive this immunization.  Unfortunately, I know of very, very, very few vets that offer this immunization.  The typical immunization is given in conjunction with other immunizations, as a booster, and the degree of protection against Parvo is quite compromised.  The following chart shows the difference in titers when comparing the standard booster to the Neopar immunization. 

Although I have been taken to task at time, with respect to the accolades I bestow on this vaccine, I can state the ‘outcome’ is proof of the vaccine.  Since using Neopar, we have not had one single occurrence of Parvo, nor has any puppy that left us contracted the disease.  Almost all breeders will share, particularly with this type of breed, (and others, but this is one of the breeds particularly vulnerable to Parvo), that they inevitably will experience some percentage of losses to Parvo.  To add insult to injury, if a buyer is lucky enough to ‘get’ a ‘Health Guarantee’ from a breeder, it covers congenital issues; therefore, contracted diseases are not typically covered, as this not something they are ‘born’ with. 

I can proudly state, that we ALWAYS vaccinate every single puppy at 5 and 7 weeks of age with NEOPAR, and with total confidence.  I do not have to worry about someone spreading Parvo to my puppies, given they’ve been to another breeder’s facility, or anywhere it my be present and played with an infected puppy.  I do not worry that the puppy’s first outing in the yard, outing in public, trip home or first trip to the vet will place them in a compromised and vulnerable position.  I have had outstanding results with the NEOPAR and can report with 100% success, no Parvo has infected any of my puppies, since we have started using this totally awesome and extremely important vaccine.  I would definitely make the statement that it is the single most important immunization and all others pale in comparison, relatively speaking to the threat and high incidences of Parvo.  I am still thoroughly confused as to why it is not used 100% of the time, as no puppy needs to be a statistic and it ‘is’ preventable. 

That said, the Parvo (Neopar) immunization is given at 5 and 7 weeks, when the mother’s antibodies are least likely to interfere with the puppy’s ability to build immunities.  Depending on the size of the puppy (micro teacups in the one-pound range wait until they are bigger), the puppies start the other immunizations around 8 to 10 weeks of age; however, THEY ALL GET THE TWO NEOPAR VACCINATIONS AT 5 AND 7 WEEKS, REGARDLESS OF THEIR SIZE.  Neopar is SO safe and SO important, I do make any distinction on puppy sizes, and that is about the ‘only’ immunization that I use a blanket consideration of ‘when’ to vaccinate. 

At approximately 10 weeks of age, I will give the vaccine that NEOTECH developed to ‘compliment’ their NEOPAR immunization, immunizing them for the Adenovirus II and Distemper. 

ADENOVIRUS:

Canine adenovirus type 1 causes canine hepatitis. The virus invades the dogs liver.  An infected dog will shed the virus in the feces and urine. Other dogs become contaminated via the mouth or nose and the virus then lodges in the tonsils. The virus is not airborne. The incubation period is 4 to 7 days.  Canine adenovirus type 2 is related to the hepatitis virus and is one of the causes of infectious tracheobronchitis, also known as kennel cough. Vaccination against adenovirus-2 will not prevent infection with this virus but limits its severity so the chance of secondary bacterial infection and complications occurring is minimized. In most cases of kennel cough, the disease is multifaceted and will include a combination of bacterial and viral agents.  Kennel cough is more predominant in kennels (thus kennel cough) or particularly in overcrowded situations. 

DISTEMPER:

Distemper is almost unheard of, anymore, but ‘if’ contracted, can be very serious.  It starts invading the respiratory system and eventually can invade the GI tract.  It can eventually spread to the nervous system and can remain with a dog for a long period of time, possibly for life.  It’s spread through excessive coughing and mucous and in the feces, as well.  Since Distemper is still seen more prevalently in areas where dogs are not vaccinated, it reminds us to continue with the vaccine, lending credibility to the fact the immunization policies are probably accounting for the rarity of it.

LEPTOSPIROSUS

There are two other immunizations that vets will frequently administer, which are sometimes included with a standard booster and that is for Leptospirosis and Corona.  I will ‘not’ vaccinate any of my puppies at all, for Leptospirosis, and prefer to ‘not’ vaccinate for the Corona.  Leptospirosis, while in ‘theory’ could ‘possibly’ be contracted in a very unique situation, the immunization ‘can’ be particularly threatening to the teacup breeds I offer.  I feel the impending and often seen complications (even occasional death) with Leptospirosis, far outweigh the likelihood of their actually contracting the disease.  Leptospirosis is most often spread through farm animals and wild animals and through the urine.  I have only had one person that purchased a small Yorkie who actually had farm animals, and in that case, I told her she would have to discuss it with a vet and weigh the odds.  She also commented that her cattle were inoculated for it, so it further reduced the threat for contracting Leptospirosis.  Recently the vaccines for Leptospirosis have not proven to be effective in terms of them having the current strains addressed and many farm animals still contracted the disease, in spite of administering the vaccination.  ‘Most’ vets that specialize in small dogs will agree ‘not’ to administer the vaccine.  On rare occasions, I have had people tell me their vet thought it was prudent to administer the vaccine; however, having seen 100% toy and teacup breeds only, the general prognosis with respect to the reactions of the vaccine have completely turned me against the vaccine.  I do not vaccinate my puppies with it. 

CORONA VIRUS

Corona virus is considered to be readably treatable, typically having symptoms of diarrhea, and only becomes serious if left untreated.  It is not commonly seen, with respect to my puppies; however, I have had the ‘little’ guys have adverse reactions to the immunization.  I’ve also heard other breeders of the tiny breeds see adverse reactions to it.  Since the disease is rare and fairly simple to treat and the vaccine ‘can’ be potentially threatening, I do not administer the Corona virus vaccine.  It is a controversial immunization, and my immunization policy is based on giving my puppies the healthiest body possible, without compromising their otherwise healthy present condition. 

All my immunization research, experience, and discussion with the professionals in the field are the components which have formulated my immunization policy.  They are specifically targeted for the tiny, toy, teacup sizes, and particularly with respect to the Yorkies and the Pomeranians.  I do not begin to make suggestions for other breeds or other sizes of dogs, so all the findings I have shared in this document may not be the best choice of immunization for your pet.  I have experienced, with great success, very healthy and vibrant dogs and feel the immunization policy I have adopted is a key ingredient in their happiness, health and longevity.  You will inevitably find someone with differing opinions, but I feel I can substantiate the reasons for the immunization policy I have adopted and will stand behind it.  I do provide a legally binding “Health Guarantee”, although diseases are not considered to be ‘congenital’ issues, which is predominantly what is covered in any Health Guarantee from a breeder, and typically not covered in pet guarantees.  I believe that I make a statement as to the degree of care and investment made in my puppies by offering a Health Guarantee, and that same statement is underlying my choices for immunizing my puppies.  That alone, is the sole basis for my choosing which immunizations to administer and which ones ‘not’ to administer.

RABIES

Lastly – rabies vaccine – not really a controversy, as it is mandated by the state of Texas; however, there is a lot of controversy as to the frequency and amount necessary to fully protect them.  According to the state, the 3-yr vaccine must be administered by the vet, and the pet only needs to have one, every three years.  Generally speaking, except for skin reactions and swelling, ‘most’ dogs do not have severe reactions to rabies; however, for some of the not-so-common tiny/micro teacups, still in the one pound range, we personally, have different statistics.  We have had, on occasion, some very severe anaphylactic reactions to the rabies shot, in the 1-2 pound puppies, even though they were several months old, and believe it is because there is just such ‘less’ dog to absorb the vaccine than what would occur otherwise with more ‘average-sized’ dogs.  As you will consistently read throughout this website, our teacups are VERY healthy, and ‘if’ there are any reactions due to the immunization, those reactions are ‘not’ associated with their being sickly, whatsoever.  It is only because of their very tiny size and inability to absorb and process the ‘live viruses’ with respect to their tiny systems.  Here is a very ‘eye-opening’ link regarding the actual number of reactions to rabies immunizations.  The website states this article was published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association   http://aimees-law.blogspot.com/2008/04/2008-report-on-rabies-vaccine-adverse.html.

The little tiny guys (and girls, of course) are just necessarily ‘not’ going to process immunizations the same as a puppy who weighs 5 or 10 or 15 pounds.  It’s just a matter of mathematics.  I have read that rabies was mandated by the state with respect to the actual welfare of ‘people’, rather than pets.  Historically speaking, when vaccinating teacups, the rabies vaccine is ‘not’ the biggest threat, but occasionally will threaten one.  We actually witnessed one die, without two minutes of a rabies shot.  That is very rare, and the only one we’ve seen associated with an actual death; however, we have witnessed other types of reactions from the rabies vaccine.  Most of these reactions are not severe and they typically overcome them fairly quickly. 

SO, my policy, personally, with my ‘own’ puppies, is not to vaccinate for rabies until they weigh at LEAST 2 pounds, and typically not before 6 months.   My puppies are not nearly as vulnerable to encounter a rabid animals as perhaps someone else’s.  The state requires every puppy have the rabies vaccine by 4 months of age.  Some groomers will allow exceptions, if the dog is a teacup and the owner states it is in the dog’s best interest to get a little bigger prior to getting their first rabies shot, but many groomers state that since it is state-law mandated, they have no choice. Petco allows exceptions up to 6 months of age, and typically, the teacups are at least 2 pounds by then, as they are getting to ¾ their adult size by that time.   (My suggestion is to do your own grooming – it saves a ton of money and typically, most people, when shown how to do so properly, prefer their own grooming results.)

Ultimately, the puppy is yours and they come into your possession, immunized fully for Parvo, for Distemper and Adenovirus.  I also offer 2nd and 3rd follow-up boosters for the Distemper and Adenovirus, for $10/each, which will save you at least $100, when considering two subsequent office visits to the vet.  If you choose to immunize your puppy further, that is something you can choose.  I do offer a policy where your puppy can get 100% of their immunizations from me, as many people find it much less confusing to do it that way.  They don’t have to get into controversial discussions regarding which immunizations to administer, and limit their office visits to the vet to include the standard ‘puppy check’.  I have found many puppy buyers find this a nice service, saving them some money, eliminating the whole need for their having to understand and discuss the topic, entirely.  They have the peace of mind knowing their puppy has been fully vaccinated and it’s just one less ‘thing’ for them to have to deal with, when bringing home a new puppy.  It is of course, completely optional, but I’ve had such requests for it, that I now offer it on a standard basis.  Many buyers have expressed rather ‘intense’ office visits at the vets office, feeling pressured and not entirely in control of making those decisions for their new puppy.  That is the only reason I now offer the follow-up boosters.  I try to always provide any follow-up care that any purchaser might need, as continued ‘customer service’ is part of the ‘whole’ package, when buying a puppy from me.

Of course, all puppies go through a de-worming process that begins at 2 weeks of age and is repeated every two weeks.  I use Pyrental Pamoate, which is a fairly comprehensive de-wormer without being ‘too’ strong for the little guys.  If I have larger puppies, or see a potential need for it, I will use Fenbendazole which is stronger and addresses a few more parasites; however it can cause the little guys to lose their appetite, and I am always very cautious about anything threatening their appetite.  (See Hypoglycemia on the menu tab on the main page.)