Puppies are born without an immune system and receive their immunity via their mother’s milk. For the first 3 days after birthing, the mother’s milk is called “Colostrum”. Colostrum is filled with nutrients & antibodies to protect the puppies and give them their initial boost. The puppies continue to receive antibodies from their mother until they are weaned. At time of weaning (5-6 weeks), the puppies still have not acquired an active immune system. That is why the puppy vaccinations are so crucial. You must be aware of the fact that these vaccinations are very specific to which diseases they protect against. Therefore, it is imperative that puppies be guarded from contact with any animals not known to be completely healthy. Puppies receive 3 sets of vaccinations. This is to bridge the gap until they are 16 weeks old and their own immune system starts functioning.
Adult dogs on the other hand, have the means to build their own immunity to things they come in contact with in their environment. There are some studies that show vaccinating healthy adult dogs can be detrimental to their immune system. Much like we have found with over vaccinating children, it can cause immune deficiencies such as Lupus. There are some vaccinations that can be beneficial. Bordetella (kennel cough), is an upper respiratory infection often transmitted between dogs in a confined area. So, this vaccination is recommended if you must board your dog. Other vaccinations are only recommended for older dogs who may have a weakened immune system and for those dogs whose immune system may have been compromised due to a disease such as diabetes or cancer.
Consult with your veterinarian, but we advise you to also do your own research. There is a wealth of information on the Internet to help you make an informed decision. It will also equip you with the necessary information to ask pertinent questions of your veterinarian. We all want what is best for our furry family members! As with all doctors, veterinarians do not all agree on everything!. By doing your own research, you will be able to make the best choice for you pet.