Puppies get a series of 3-4 immunizations depending on what age their first vaccine was given and their particular risk of disease.
First veterinary visit (6-8 weeks of age)
-Bordetella vaccine (given orally)
-fecal examination for intestinal parasites
-deworming with Pyrantel
Second veterinary visit (9-11 weeks of age)
-fecal examination (if not done at first visit)
-begin monthly heartworm and flea and tick prevention
Third veterinary visit (12-14 weeks of age)
-1st DHLPP vaccine
-1st Lyme vaccine (depending on travel and tick risk factors)
-Continue monthly heartworm, flea and tick prevention
Fourth veterinary visit (15-17 weeks of age)
-2nd Lyme (if chosen)
-Rabies 1yr vaccine
-Continue monthly preventions
Spay, or ovariohysterectomy, is typically performed either just before or just after the first heat cycle. When performed before the first heat cycle, usually around 6 months of age, we minimize her lifetime risk of mammary (breast) cancer. If we choose to allow the female to have 1 heat cycle then we increase her risk of breast cancer, but in trade we reduce some risk of orthopedic injuries later in life, including ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries.
Neuter, or castration, is typically performed at similar ages to females. If we neuter before puberty, around 6 months of age, we can prevent a lot of the behavioral complications that occur by owning an intact male dog. This includes dominance and territorial behavior, leg-lifting /urine marking behavior (especially inside the house), and resistance to appropriate training. However, if we allow males to go through puberty, it appears as though the testosterone offers some level of protection to the ACL in a similar fashion to females who experience estrogen. A typical neuter is done between 6-18 months of age depending on each dog’s individual behavior, breed, and owner’s desire.