We believe in appropriate, science-backed vaccination schedules.
My litters will have nomographs done to determine the most effective vaccination schedules for puppies I breed. A canine nomograph is an estimate of the amount of antibodies passed to a litter of pups from the mother via her milk. Currently, these tests are performed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine.
Basically, you draw blood from the mother dog, and run a test to determine the levels of maternal antibodies present in her. With that data and some calculations, you can create a nomograph to determine when the optimal times to vaccinate the puppies would be. Optimal defined not too early so that the vaccine given is ineffective, but not too late so that the puppy is unprotected.
Finally, the antibodies only work *if* the puppies nurse directly from the mama dog within the first 12 hours of their life. About 12 hours after being born, a puppy’s intestinal tract “solidifies/thickens” and their body no longer absorbs the colostrum from their mother’s milk. If the puppies do not nurse from the mother dog within the first 12 hours, they will not get the antibodies from their mama (and the nomograph is moot).
Our vaccination recommendation is to give the first two doses of vaccination based on the timing outlined in the nomograph. All puppies will be sent home with a copy of their mother’s titre results.
We recommend a titre (blood draw + test) two weeks after the second vaccination to ensure that the vaccination was effective, and then a third and final vaccination at one year of age, which will ensure that the puppy is protected for the rest of its life.
I’ve always heard that vaccinations should be done at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age!
Vets typically recommend vaccinations at 8, 12, and 16 weeks because this is a general schedule of when maternal antibodies wear off, since most breeders do not run a titre test on their breeding females to create a canine nomograph. An individual dog’s immunity level is not a factor of how many shots it has received, it is a characteristic of the dog herself. Two dogs who have had the exact same vaccinations at the exact same time could have different amounts of antibodies to pass onto their puppies.
However these standard guidelines may not always be effective; for example, if a mother dog had lower levels of antibodies present in her blood, the protection she passes to her puppy would be effective for a shorter period of time, which means that her puppies may be unprotected earlier than 8 weeks and they would be vulnerable to diseases.
University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine: https://www.vetmed.wisc.edu/lab/cavids/canine-nomograph-what-is-it/