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WCAH Puppy Welcome Letter

Congratulations on the new addition to your family! While getting a puppy is very exciting, it can also be demanding, especially in the first year where there are frequent veterinary visits. The staff here at West Carleton Animal Hospital are here to help get you and your new family member started on the right track by providing some very important medical information about a puppy’s first year.

★ Vaccines

Most puppies require a set of 3 vaccines which are administered three to four weeks apart. The core (required) vaccines for all dogs are the: Distemper/Parvovirus combination (DHPP) vaccine, and the Rabies vaccine. Depending on your puppy’s lifestyle, other vaccines are available, namely the following three: Leptospirosis vaccine, Lyme vaccine and Bordetella (kennel cough) vaccine.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease spread via contaminated urine of wildlife. Dogs often come into contact by drinking standing water. Lepto can cause liver and kidney failure. It can also be transmitted to humans.

Lyme vaccine does not fully prevent Lyme disease. We rely on regular prevention to protect against Lyme and other increasing frequent tick-transmitted diseases.

Puppy’s age                                                                 Vaccine (s)                                                     Duration of efficacy

8 weeks                                                                        ➔1 st DHPP                                                   3 – 4 weeks

12 weeks                                                                      ➔2 nd DHPP (booster)                                 3 – 4 weeks


  ➔Lyme (initial) *

  ➔Leptospirosis (initial) *

16 weeks                                                               ➔3 rd DHPP (final booster) & Rabies                       1 year


      ➔Lyme (booster)

      ➔Leptospirosis (booster)

      ➔Bordetella (Kennel Cough) **

*Please note: the vaccine protocol maybe adjusted according to the needs of each pet.

**Please note: the Bordetella (kennel cough) vaccine is typically given orally (by mouth) and is effective for 1 year following the administration. It can be given at either the 12-week or 16-week mark.

All puppies require a physical examination with a veterinarian prior to receiving their vaccines by law. This is to ensure they are healthy, to address any possible concerns that may develop as they are growing, as well as to monitor any potential vaccine reactions. As such, there is an exam fee associated with puppy exams, including vaccination boosters.

If you have adopted a puppy from a breeder, it is likely that they have already received their first DHPP vaccine. If this is the case, then 2 appointments are required with us to adequately booster the vaccine series. Proof of the initial vaccine will be required for your puppy’s medical records.

Parasites (Internal & External)

★ Deworming

Did you know that most puppies are born with intestinal worms? It’s true! They often pick up parasites in utero or from their mother’s milk. Did you also know that some of these parasites can be spread to humans? It’s also true! To ensure that your puppy is not a carrier of intestinal worms/parasites, multiple doses of deworming is recommended. We recommend deworming every 2 – 3 weeks until your puppy is 16 weeks of age, then monthly until they are 6 months old.

Deworming options can be discussed with the veterinarian during your puppy’s appointments.

Common deworming products for puppies at WCAH:

  • Strongid-T
  • Panacur
  • Interceptor Plus
  • Nexgard Spectra
  • Heartgard

★ Heartworm, Tick & Flea Prevention

Prevention for heartworm, ticks and fleas is recommended for dogs of all ages.

  • Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes, so it is advised to have your dog on heartworm prevention during warmer months (June – November). Heartworm disease is very difficult to treat and it can be life-threatening. Prevention is much easier than treatment.
  • Ticks, however, are out and active as long as the weather is above 0 OC consistently. With our varying weather patterns, even during the winter, tick prevention is recommended year-round.

There are a number of various heartworm, tick and flea preventative options. Finding the right product for your furry family member can be overwhelming. WCAH is here to help! While there exist many preventative options, our most widely used products are Nexgard and Nexgard Spectra.

Other available options include but are not limited to the following, and can be discussed with a veterinarian or staff member:

  • Bravecto
  • Advantage
  • Advantix
  • Revolution

★ Spaying/Neutering

Spaying (for females) and neutering (for males) is a procedure in which reproductive organs are surgically removed. This is strongly recommended to prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce the risk of cancer (uterine and mammary for females; and testicular for males). Spaying also rids the risk of pyometra (a severe life-threatening infection of the uterus). Additionally, in some cases, spaying/neutering can decrease undesired behaviours. The recommended age for performing this procedure will depend on your puppy. Because dogs come in many different sizes, they can mature at different rates which will alter the recommended spay/neuter date. Generally, smaller breeds are spayed/neutered earlier than larger breed dogs. The ideal date of spaying/neutering your pet can be discussed with a veterinarian at your puppy’s initial appointment(s).

★ Diet & Nutrition

Nutrition is crucial in ensuring your puppy’s healthy development! It can be challenging to navigate through contradictory dietary information online, or even if you find yourself in front of rows upon rows of food at a pet store or veterinary clinic. The following article can help you ask the right questions to guide you to the right diet for your puppy:

Additionally, Pet Nutrition Alliance has both pet owner and veterinary resources, as well as current nutritional guidelines for pets. If you are still uncertain, nutrition options can be discussed with one of our veterinarians or staff members at your puppy’s exams.

Grain free diets are NOT recommended as there have been some concerns with congestive heart failure in dogs.

Thank you for trusting us with your new family member, we are excited to watch them grow! Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or require any clarifications.

© 2024 West Carleton Animal Hospital