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Maltese Vaccine Schedule [Recommended]

Age of Puppy

Vaccine Given

5 Weeks PREVENT/VAV® Parvovirus
6, 8, 10, 12 Weeks DA2P+PV without leptospirosis
14, 16, 18 Weeks DA2LP+PV without leptospirosis
Adult Yearly Booster DA2LP+PV with leptospirosis
Please Note: This is the schedule we go by when vaccinating our Maltese. We haven't had any problems whats so ever with this schedule. Check with your veterinarian, as in different areas of the country, doses, vaccine and schedule could vary.




The following consumer information is provided by Dr. Sandra Woods, Division of Drugs for Non-Food Animals, Center for Veterinary Medicine.

  1. In young puppies, 95 percent of their immunity is obtained by consuming colostrum, which is the first milk produced by the mother dog shortly after birth.

    TRUE. If the dam is immune to the common infectious canine diseases, her puppies will also be protected for six to sixteen weeks after birth, if they consume colostrum.

  2. Female dogs revaccinated prior to breeding pass more antibodies on to their puppies in their colostrum than non-revaccinated dogs.

    TRUE. The higher the dam's concentration of antibodies to infectious diseases, the more protection she can pass on to her puppies. Revaccination causes the body to produce a large amount of antibodies.

  3. While they are present, antibodies received from the mother do not interfere with permanent vaccination of her puppies.

    FALSE. The antibodies a puppy receives from his mother will tie up the antigens in a vaccine and prevent the puppy from making his own antibodies for weeks after birth.

  4. Whether the vaccine used contains a killed virus or a modified live virus has no effect on the response to vaccination in the older puppy (over three months old) or adult dog.

    FALSE. In general, the modified live vaccines are more effective and produce a longer period of immunity. The killed vaccines require repeated doses to produce an adequate immune response, but they are safer for use in sick or pregnant dogs. Your veterinarian can advise you on which vaccines and what immunization schedule is best for your dog.

  5. The route of administration (usually intramuscular or subcutaneous) has no effect on the level of protection produced in dogs old enough to be vaccinated.

    FALSE. The effect that the route of administration has on the dog's response to vaccination depends on the vaccine being administered. For example, rabies vaccine is much more effective given by the intramuscular route than by the subcutaneous route. With canine distemper vaccine, both routes appear to be equally effective.

  6. Repeat vaccination of puppies is required because the exact time when the vaccination will be effective can't be determined.

    TRUE.The antibodies a puppy receives from his mother gradually wear out and are eliminated by the puppy's disease defense system. The more antibodies the puppy receives in the colostrum, the longer this takes. Vaccination schedules usually provide multiple shots at two to four week intervals, thus ensuring that one or more of the shots are given when the puppy will be receptive to the vaccination.

  7. Orphan puppies that received no colostrum should be vaccinated at four to five weeks of age with killed vaccines.

    TRUE.Vaccination before one month of age may be ineffective because the immune system does not start to mature until after normal adult body temperature is achieved. A modified live vaccine can cause disease by infecting the immature puppy; therefore, killed vaccines should be used in very young animals.

  8. Since older dogs (over seven years of age) may have a decreased ability to produce antibodies in response to vaccination, they should be revaccinated yearly.

    TRUE . Older dogs do not produce as many antibodies in response to vaccination as younger dogs. The duration of protection from a single vaccination will therefore be shorter for the older animal. Yearly revaccination prevents antibody levels from dropping below levels that are protective.

  9. In a multiple dog household, it is best to synchronize revaccinations so that no dog is omitted.

    TRUE.Revaccinate some of your dogs early so that all future vaccinations will be due at the same time. This simplifies record-keeping and ensures that each animal is protected at all times.

  10. Vaccination of a dog that is already ill with the disease will prevent the disease from progressing.

    FALSE. Vaccination of a sick dog will not prevent disease because the protective antibody level will not be reached before full development of the illness. Four days to two weeks is required for the body to make enough antibodies to protect itself from disease. The antibodies must be present prior to exposure to the disease-causing organism.

  11. Vaccinated puppies should be protected from chilling, since chilling reduces the amount of antibodies produced after vaccination.

    TRUE. Recent research on litters of puppies matched for age, sex, and weight demonstrated significantly higher antibody levels in the puppies not subjected to a cold environment during the time antibodies were forming after vaccination.

  12. Dogs do not need to be vaccinated for canine distemper, canine hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza and parvo virus, since they will acquire natural immunity anyway.

    FALSE. All of the named diseases can be fatal. Recovery from any of them usually leaves the dog immune to the same disease, but does not prevent internal organ damage which can predispose the animal to other serious disease states.

  13. If a dog is being treated with anticancer drugs and/or high doses of corticosteroids, that treatment will have no effect on the response to vaccinations.

    FALSE. Immunosuppressive drugs such as anticancer drags or high dose corticosteroids can impair the immune response to the point that modified live virus vaccines can infect the dog and cause the disease they are meant to prevent. No disease will develop in response to the use of killed vaccines, but no protective level of antibodies will develop either.

  14. Severely debilitated dogs should be vaccinated to protect them from infectious diseases.

    FALSE. Severely debilitated dogs may be susceptible to vaccination-induced disease from modified live virus since they lack enough protein to make antibodies. If they must be vaccinated, killed vaccines should be used and the dogs should be revaccinated when their health improves.

  15. In areas experiencing rabies outbreaks, all puppies over four months of age should be vaccinated.

    TRUE. Rabies is a serious viral disease that is fatal in humans and animals and can be transmitted from one to the other. Public health regulations require vaccination of all domestic animals that could transmit rabies to people. The normal rabies vaccination age for dogs is four months, but the vaccine can be used in puppies as young as three months.

  16. Immune serum, which is a source of preformed antibodies, can protect an orphan puppy from infection but will not give him permanent immunity.

    TRUE. Immune serum contains preformed antibodies just like colostrum. It provides instant protection, but as the antibodies are used up (within a few days to a few weeks), they are not replaced. Immune serum is used only to protect dogs that may be exposed to disease before permanent vaccinations can be completed.

    NOTE: The best way to protect your dog is to have your veterinarian set up a vaccination program. This program will provide your dog with excellent protection against almost all of the important infectious diseases that he could catch. Proper protection means a longer healthier life for your dog.

Common Diseases

Canine Distemper

Canine distempter is a widespread, often fatal viral disease. All dogs should be vaccinated against this deadly virus. This neurological disorder is one of the most feared canine diseases in the world. All dogs, even older ones, should be vaccinated.

Canine Adenovirus

Both types 1 and 2 cause infectious hepatitis and respiratory infection. Hepatitus caused by adenvirus may cause severe liver damage or death. Adenovirus is, also an important factor in kennel cough.

Bordtella Bronchiseptica

Canine Parainfluenza or Kennel Cough is the most common bacteria implicated as a cause of respiratory disease in the canine. It is commonly involved in the development of canine cough. Frequently many patients within a household or kennel will be simultaneously infected.

Canine Leptospirosis

Canine Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection which may lead to permanent kidney damage. The disease is easily spread to other pets and humans.

Canine Parvovirus

Is a disease of widespread distribution which may cause severe dehydrating diarrhea in dogs of varying ages. Parvovirus infection is especially dangerous for puppies.

Prior to 1977-78, parvovirus did not exist in the dog. The virus is a close relative of feline panleukopenia (feline distemper) and in fact, may have mutated from the cat and infected the dog in the late 1970ıs. The virus is extremely hardy and survives for long periods outside its host. The virus will live in the environment up to 6 months and survives winter nicely under a blanket of snow where the temperature is usually around 25-28 degrees F. Extremely cold temperatures prior to snow fall will kill the virus. Sodium hypochlorite (bleach) is the only effective disinfecting agent.

The virus is transmitted by oral ingestion of viral contaminated feces. Upon ingestion by the new host it infects local lymph nodes, quickly multiplies and then via the blood moves to the small intestine where signs of the disease begin in approximately 5-6 days. The virus is extremely deleterious to the lining (mucosa) of the small intestine. The surface of the mucosa is stripped away upsetting crucial barriers and interfering with normal balance of digestive enzyme secretion and nutrient absorption. Additionaly, the normal bacterial flora of the small intestine which aid in digestion are now exposed to ulcerated mucosa, providing a direct route into the blood stream. Fluid loss from both vomiting and diarrhea is dramatic and dehydration ensues. The onslaught of bacteria and toxins into the blood will ultimately cause death. Precipitous drops in white blood cell (WBC) counts are common and relate directly to the prognosis and outcome of the infection. Ominous drops in white blood cells are attributed to overwhelming degradation of WBCıs and the direct depressive viral effect on WBC production in the bone marrow.

The incidence of the disease is highest in young dogs and tends to start some time after the puppy has lost its maternal protection passed on at birth with the first milk (colostrum). Any age can be infected but, most dogs are infected between the ages of 2-6 months when maternal antibody decreases below a protective level in the puppy. Signs of the disease usually are mild to nonexistent. However, a full blown case of parvovirus untreated can easily be fatal. Certain breeds seem to be more sensitive to the disease; possibly related to their immune system. They include rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, and possibly black Labrador retrievers.

Generally, a diagnosis is made on the signs of the disease and falling white blood cell counts. Good rapid diagnostic tests are also available at veterinary clinics. Additionally, the virus can be found in the feces by commercial labs using electron microscopy.

Treatment for the disease is primarily supportive although recently immunotherapy has become important. Historically, dogs were supported by aggressive intravenous fluid therapy to combat hydration and antibiotics given to reduce secondary bacterial infection. Food is withheld until vomiting has ceased. Many veterinarians employ antiemetics to lessen the signs and aid in the control of dehydration. Blood transfusions have been employed to increase the level of globulins, red blood cells and serum protein being lost via the bowelıs bloody diarrhea. Most recently, antitoxins and antiparvo serum are showing results. With hospitalization and vigorous support most dogs will survive severe cases of parvo virus. Early detection and aggressive therapy are the key to success.

Prevention of parvo virus is by vaccination. Modified live vaccines are the most effective and continue to be safe. Producing and effective level of protection requires frequent vaccination starting at 8 weeks of age and repeating every 3-4 weeks until the puppy is sixteen weeks old. Some investigators have suggested extending the protocol until 20-26 weeks because of the persistence of maternal antibody in the puppy which neutralizes the vaccine. Currently, annual revaccination is recommended. Recently, it has been suggested that repeated annual vaccination may also produce persistent antibody interference to the vaccination. After the initial puppy series and first annual revaccination, boosters in the future may be recommended triennial or less frequent. A change in vaccine protocol, until further research is done, is not recommended.

Canine Caronavirus

This infection is a contagious intestinal disease causing vomiting and diarrhea in dogs of all ages.

Lyme Disease

A bacterial disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, may be spread through direct contact and by insects such as flies, fleas and ticks. Arthritic-like symptons may occur.

Important Information about Rabies

About the Disease
Rabies is a disease that can kill people as well as animals. The disease is viral in nature and typically passed through contact with the saliva of an infected animal. People may get the disease by being bitten, licked, or scratched (saliva is often found on claws). Approximately twenty four hours after the virus enters the body it attacks the brain. Once this stage has been reached, it is uncurable, and death eventually results.

Time is of the Essence
If rabies shots are given within the 24 hour initial exposure period, the disease can be prevented. As soon as possible after an animal bite, scrub the wound with soap and water for fifteen minutes. As a general rule, wash well with soap after any contact with a wild animal. Don't take any chances, report all bites to the proper authority in your area immediately! Often, you may call your county health department. If in doubt, or after hours, call your local hospital emergency room, or even 911.

A Rabid Animal
Rabies may cause the behavior of an animal to change. A friendly pet may want to be left alone; a shy pet may want attention and may seem unusually affectionate. The animal may be restless, have difficulty walking, eating, drinking, drool saliva, make strange noises, bite or scratch an old wound, or seem to be choking. The animal may become excited, confused, or vicious. It may attack people, other animals, or even fixed objects in its state of illness.

Warn children against touching, petting, picking up, or even going near any stray dog, cat, or wild animal. Children are often victims of rabies.

Wild Animals
Beware of any wild animal that seems to be tame, friendly, or is seen in the daytime. The fox, raccoon, and skunk are nocturnal animals which avoid people except in rare cases. When the virus affects their brains they may be seen in areas that are not their usual habitat. They may lose their fear of people and enter buildings, homes, and cars. They may attack anything with no provocation.

Wild Animals as Pets
There are no rabies vaccines available to immunize skunks, raccoons or other wild animals, be they pets or not. The skunk is the animal most commonly found to be rabid in the US, and is the most common cause of rabies in humans in the US. Skunks are very susceptible to rabies and when infected have large amounts of rabies virus in their saliva. Compounding the problem, pet skunks bite, and may develop rabies as much as six months after being exposed.

Any bat that can be approached is sick, and probably has rabies. Never touch a bat. Cover it with a trash can lid or similar until it can be disposed of. Oddly, squirrels are not a big source of rabies in this country. They typically either get away from a rabid attacker totally unscathed, or do not survive the attack. Squirrels are susceptible though, so watch for the warning signs.

What to report:

Confine the Suspect Animal
If possible, confine the animal so that it may be picked up by authorities for 10 day quarantine and observation. This is necessary so the attending physician can treat the victim properly.

Vaccinate Your Pet
Vaccinations are available for both dogs and cats, and are almost universally required by law. Your pet must be vaccinated if four months or older. They should receive their first two vaccinations one year apart, with boosters following every three years. Contact your vet today to make an appointment. Losing your pet to rabies is tragic, and your pet will be dangerous to you and everyone else. Don't think it can't happen to your pet just because he is in a fenced area, or stays inside. It only takes one mishap and all is lost.

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