Health & Wellness

Which Vaccinations Does Your Chihuahua Really Need?

Giving vaccinations to children is not the only hot topic this season. Where Chi’s are concerned, there are, of course, two sides to the vaccination story. There are owners who believe that vaccinations are simply too much for tiny breeds and there are owners who insist vaccinations are absolutely necessary. When your Chi is vaccinated, his/her body begins to build immunity to diseases. Vaccinations help to ensure your Chihuahua has good health and helps protect other people and animals from fatal diseases. Which vaccinations does your tiny Chi really need? Here are some guidelines to consider.

Chihuahua Puppy Shots   

At five weeks, your Chi puppy is at high risk for parvo which is a virus that is easily transmitted and highly contagious. This virus attacks the stomach and small intestines; especially in puppies which mean they need their Parvovirus shot. At six weeks and nine weeks a combination shot is administered which is often referred to as a 5-way vaccine. This shot includes coronavirus, hepatitis, distemper, parainfluenza and parvovirus. If you and your pup live somewhere where leptospitosis is a concern, then many vets will include this into their combination shot.

Once your Chi has reached the ripe age of twelve weeks or older, they will need a rabies vaccination and a Lyme disease vaccine. Between twelve and sixteen weeks, Chi’s will also receive an adult booster. Depending on the area in which you live, the law may require more or less vaccinations for your pup.

Combination Vaccines for Your Chi

All Chihuahua’s are different and some of their little bodies will require more protection. The five-in-one combination vaccine will protect your Chi against hepatitis, adenovirus cough, canine distemper, parainfluenza and parvovirus. All of these diseases can be fatal to your Chi if not properly vaccinated.

As mentioned above, if you live in an area where particular viruses and diseases are common, your Chi will need added protection. The seven-in-one shot will protect your Chi from the illnesses included in the five-in-one shot, but it also helps with protection from types of leptospirosis.

Additional Vaccines for Your Chi

More than likely, the area in which you live requires your Chi to be vaccinated against rabies. Your Chi will need two rabies shots, the first shot will be when they are three-to-four months old and the second when they receive their booster shot. The state law will dictate how often they will need to receive the rabies vaccine. An additional vaccine not required, but is a good choice for anyone who boards their pups is the bordetella vaccine.

Vaccine Risks and Side Effects That Your Chi May Experience

According to a report by Chihuahua Club of America, Chihuahuas have a higher risk of adverse reaction to canine vaccines than medium and large breeds. Proper vaccines are highly important to help reduce the risk your Chi has of catching diseases. However; vaccinations do come with their own side effects, concerns and risks. Most side effects appear quickly in a matter of hours of the vaccine being given and leave within a day or two. If your Chi experiences any side effects such as swelling, mild fever, low energy levels, reduced appetite or runny nose and sneezing for a period lasting longer than two days then please contact your veterinarian.

Many of these milder side effects in your Chi can be treated by using Benadryl. If this is a route you choose to take, always consider your Chi’s weight before giving them a dose of medicine. There are some side effects which are more severe to look for which cannot be treated at home and require immediate professional attention. Severe reactions would be if your Chi has persistent diarrhea or vomiting, trouble with breathing and severe itching, hives or swelling

Core Vs Non-Core Vaccines for Your Chi

Core vaccines that are recommended for your Chi are: parvovirus, rabies, distemper and adenovirus (hepatitis). The protections against these diseases are proven to last from seven to fifteen years. If your Chi has any of the core vaccines at sixteen weeks or older, they are likely protected for life and will not need to be vaccinated again.

Non-core vaccinations include: bordetella, lyme disease, leptospirosis, canine influenza, parainfluenza and adenovirus intranasal. Many of these non-core vaccines have low efficacy rates because they are bacterial. These are completely voluntary and should be thoroughly researched before deciding on it they are right for your Chi.

As your Chi pups owner, you know your Chi best and what vaccines they need and when. If your Chi has a low risk of infection for a non-core disease such as lyme disease, vaccination is not necessary. Healthy Chi’s should be vaccinated for common viral and bacterial diseases.

DHLPP for Chi’s

Chihuahua’s may not get an entire combination of vaccines in one shot. One of the most common combination shots given to Chi’s are known as DHLPP. These initials stand for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and parainfluenza. As mentioned above, many of these vaccines are non-core vaccines; however some viruses and diseases such as distemper and parainfluenza can attack tiny breeds faster than larger dogs.

What Does My Chi Really Need?

The short and simple answer is that it depends on your chi’s age and risk factors. Puppies should always receive a full series of vaccines mentioned above to protect from all common diseases. Puppies are like newborn babies, once they enter the world they are protected by their mother’s antibodies for a certain period of time, but once those antibodies wear off they are more susceptible to diseases. Adult Chi’s should receive and follow their appropriate vaccination program. Some vaccines are completely voluntary, but some Chi’s need protection against bordetella and Lyme disease depending on their living situation.

As your Chi’s loyal owner, you are responsible for knowing vaccine state laws and knowing how to protect your fur-baby. There are numerous online articles and even vets who will tell you two sides to the vaccination world. It’s up to you to do the research for your individual Chi baby.

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