tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes) TOA PAYOH VETS
 Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits
Date:   04 February, 2007      

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Vaccination of Singapore puppies - breeders and pet shops - Dr Sing Kong Yuen, Toa Payoh Vets, Singapore,
Update: Feb 5, 2007

The following are frequently asked questions.

1. When can the puppy socialise after the 3rd vaccination?
"How can someone pass such incorrect information?" a Caucasian expatriate was unhappy as a pet shop operator told her that the puppy could go out and mix with other dogs 4 days after its third vaccination. I said it was 2 weeks and this was the advice given by another veterinarian she consulted.

2. How many vaccinations does a puppy need?
2.1 Three vaccinations if the puppy has its first vaccination at week 6.
The vaccination schedule recommended by Toa Payoh Vets is:
Week 6, Week 8-9, Week 10-11 and then yearly booster. Toa Payoh Vets schedule is meant for breeder and pet shop puppies. Most of Toa Payoh Vets' vaccination cases are from breeders and pet shops and early vaccination is essential as these puppies are exposed to viral diseases earlier when they are from different sources.

2.2 Two vaccinations if the puppy is older e.g. 10 weeks old. Imported puppies are advised to have two vaccinations.

3. One pet shop operator recommend 1 vaccination in Singapore instead of two, for Australian-imported puppies.

Australian-imported puppies have had 2 vaccinations before they are permitted to be imported into Singapore. The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) rules that puppies can only be imported or sold after they have had 2 vaccinations. Therefore, the pet shop operator has complied with regulations. The pet shop operator had complied with regulations. However, the Australian veterinarian in the vaccination certificate states that a 3rd vaccination is due 6 weeks later. If the puppy is 3 months (as required by law) at the time of import, the 3rd vaccination should be 6 weeks later (Week 18).

Puppy owners should consult their Singapore veterinarians for advice as disease situation varies. I recommend 2 vaccinations for imported puppies as the vaccines used in Australia protects the puppies for 3 - 5 diseases. They are not protected against other diseases. In Toa Payoh Vets, the vaccines used are 8-in-one (8 diseases) or 9-in-one (9 diseases). 2 vaccinations are recommended because there are cases of some imported puppies getting parvoviral infections.

4. Types of vaccines in Singapore. There are 2 manufacturers supplying canine vaccine in 2005. For the common diseases, there is the 5-in one from one manufacturer and the 8-in-one or 9-in-one from the second manufacturer.

5. Monthly vaccination. Some practices recommend 2 monthly vaccinations after the first one. Others recommend that the 3rd vaccination should be 6 weeks later after the 2nd one. It is best to consult your own veterinarian as disease situation varies.

For Toa Payoh Vets, most puppies vaccinated are from breeders. They get vaccinated at around week 6. Although I advised strongly against selling to the pet shop operators after the first vaccination, such puppies are sold as they are in great demand and fetch a price premium. Therefore, to protect them, I advise 2 weekly vaccination. I strongly recommend that breeders sell them 2 weeks after the 2nd vaccination and I believe this is the official regulation. Such puppies have antibodies against the various viruses they encounter if they have had 2 vaccinations and time of 1-2 weeks after the second vaccination before sale.

6. Other vaccines. Kennel cough and the coronavirus vaccines are recommended by some practices and not in others. It is up to the owner to assess the risk of contacting such diseases and to consult their veterinarian. There is extra costs involved.

7. Vaccine reactions. Around 1% of the puppies do get vaccine reactions. The main reactions are fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, swollen eyes and itchy body. Deaths rarely occur. It is best to phone your vet once you notice the puppy not eating or active.

8. No bathing 1 week after vaccination. This is recommended as the puppies get stressed during bathing when it is already stressed by the vaccination. Keep the puppy inside its own home or playpen for the first 3 days and let is rest.

9. No going outdoors till the 3rd vaccination. This is a wise precaution as the puppy's anti-viral immune system is not fully developed. Owners may need to bring their puppies to the puppy classes, veterinary clinics and pet shops and will need to take extra precautions that there is no nose-to-nose sniffing with other dogs or the floor. This may not be practical.

The puppy can be brought outdoors if the area has not been frequented by other dogs after the 2nd vaccination. Places to avoid are dog parks and areas where there are a lot of puppies socialising. The best is not to expose the puppy to other puppies.

10. No need for rabies vaccination. Local puppies are not permitted to be given rabies vaccination as Singapore has been free from rabies for the past 50 years. Rabies vaccination are required for dogs to be exported or quarantined. Puppies imported from Australia are not quarantined and do not need rabies vaccination.

11. Home breeders. Small breeds like mini-Maltese and Chihuahuas. Although nearly 99% of them do not die from adverse vaccine reactions, home breeders and professional breeders may wish to wait till they are 8 - 10 weeks old before vaccinating them and then 1 month later. Do NOT expose them to other puppy sources. Keep them in your home.

12. Core vaccinations. Distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus are said to be core vaccines as the viruses kill puppies. Usually they are available in all combined vaccines. Kennel cough and coronaviral vaccines are not core vaccines. It is up to the owner to tell the veterinarian that these vaccines are wanted. Much depends on the life-style of the puppies. If they have an active social life-style they should get all the core and non-core vaccines. This is especially important for the breeders.

I hope the above gives a clear picture of the vaccination of puppies in Singapore.
E-mail if you have any queries.
American Veterinary Medical Association Report 2005 -Vaccination Resources
Vaccination FAQ

Last reviewed May 2005

Q:  What are vaccines?

A:  Vaccines are health products that trigger protective immune responses in pets and prepare them to fight future infections from disease-causing agents. Vaccines can lessen the severity of future diseases and certain vaccines can prevent infection altogether. Today, a variety of vaccines are available for use by veterinarians.


Q:  Is it important to vaccinate?

A:  Yes! Pets should be vaccinated to protect them from many highly contagious and deadly diseases. Experts agree that widespread use of vaccines within the last century has prevented death and disease in millions of animals. Even though some formerly common diseases have now become uncommon, vaccination is still highly recommended because these serious disease agents continue to be present in the environment.


Q:  Which vaccines should pets receive?

A:  When designing a vaccination program, veterinarians consider the pet's lifestyle, related disease risks, and the characteristics of available vaccines. "Core vaccines" (e.g., rabies, feline panleukopenia, feline viral rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus infection, canine distemper, canine parvovirus infection, and canine hepatitis) are recommended for most pets. Additional "non-core vaccines" (e.g., feline leukemia, canine kennel cough and other vaccines) may be appropriate based on the pet's particular needs.


Q:  How often should pets be revaccinated?

A:  Veterinarians have traditionally vaccinated annually; however, they are now learning that some vaccines induce immunity that lasts less than one year, whereas others may induce immunity that lasts well beyond one year. The AVMA recommends that veterinarians customize vaccination programs to the needs of their patients. More than one vaccination program may be effective.


Q:  How does my pet's lifestyle affect its vaccination program?

A:  Some pets are homebodies and have modest opportunity for exposure to infectious disease, whereas others have a great deal of exposure to other pets and/or wildlife and infectious disease by virtue of their activities. Still other pets live in geographic areas that place them at greater risk for contracting some infectious diseases. Differences in lifestyle illustrate the importance of customizing a vaccination program to individual patients.


Q:  Are there risks associated with vaccination?

A:  Vaccines have protected millions of animals from illness and death caused by infectious diseases. All medical procedures, however, carry with them some risk. Fortunately, in the case of vaccination, serious adverse responses are very infrequent. Veterinarians minimize risk by carefully selecting vaccines on the basis of a pet's individual needs and by choosing appropriate injection sites. In an effort to find ways to prevent even these limited numbers of adverse responses from occurring, the AVMA is working with government and industry to redefine how information regarding adverse responses is gathered, analyzed, and disseminated.


Q:  Is serologic testing useful to evaluate immunity to some diseases?

A:  Theoretically, tests that measure antibody response (i.e., serologic titers) may help veterinarians determine the need for revaccination in some cases. Unfortunately, veterinarians cannot be certain that a specific concentration of antibody is always protective or that a lower concentration leaves an animal unprotected.


This information has been prepared as a service by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Redistribution is acceptable, but the document's original content and format must be maintained, and its source must be prominently identified.

American Veterinary Medical Association
Copyright 2005



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