Our puppy pediatrics program is designed to offer your new puppy all the benefits of veterinary services from 6 weeks of age to 16 weeks. This service includes a series of examinations and vaccinations, including rabies, distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus, parainfluenza, leptospirosis, bordetella when appropriate, and snakebite vaccine. Puppies require a series of puppy shots, beginning at 6 weeks and ending at 16 weeks. This series of shots is necessary because puppies cannot react long-term to vaccines as long as they have maternal antibodies from their mother’s colostrum. This temporary protection will run out sometime between 6 weeks and 16 weeks, which is why the puppy shots begin at 6 weeks and end at 16 weeks.
In addition to vaccines, pediatric care includes treating the puppy for intestinal worms, primarily roundworms, and hookworms which puppies almost always receive from their mother while still in her uterus. This is because most of the hookworm and roundworm larvae that infest the dam after adulthood do not mature in her but lay dormant until she becomes pregnant. Hormone changes associated with pregnancy cause the dormant larvae to “wake up” and migrate to the uterus, where they find new hosts in the developing fetuses. Hookworms are blood-sucking parasites and may cause puppies to become severely anemic. They are a frequent cause of death in puppies. Roundworms are the cause of extreme “potbelly” in puppies. They cause digestive disorders and steal the puppy’s nutrients. Arkansas puppies are generally assumed to have hookworms and roundworms. Other parasites such as whipworms, tapeworms, coccidia, and giardia also occur with some frequency in puppies. Special pharmaceutical products are required to treat puppies infected with these intestinal parasites.
We strongly recommend spaying and neutering as soon as the puppy’s immune system has had time to reach competency. The ideal age is 16 to 20 weeks. The old notion that a female dog should go through a heat cycle before undergoing a hysterectomy has been shown to be untrue. Recent studies have shown puppies heal quicker and experience fewer complications if spayed before maturity. Of course, this also spares the owner of the inherent problems associated with housing a female dog in heat.