Vaccines provide protection for your pup against serious diseases, some of which can be fatal, especially for young pups with a developing immune system. Sometimes these vaccines are combined into one shot, including a five-in-one or seven-in-one vaccine. Starting at 12 weeks of age, your puppy can receive the seven-in-one shot as part of his regular vaccination schedule if your vet feels that it's appropriate for him.
Seven (Potentially) Deadly Diseases
The seven-in-one vaccine gets its name from the amount of vaccines it contains. This formulation typically contains a combination of vaccines that help to prevent adenovirus, hepatitis, canine distemper, parainfluenza, parvovirus and two strains of leptospirosis. The two vaccines for leptospirosis aren't recommended for pups younger than 12 weeks of age, according to the 2011 American Animal Hospital Association Canine Vaccination Guidelines. For this reason, the seven-in-one shot is first administered to young puppies at 12 weeks old and repeated at 16 weeks of age. Prior to this, most pups between six and nine weeks of age should receive the five-in-one shot, which doesn't contain either of the leptospirosis vaccines.
Is the Seven-in-One Shot Appropriate for Fido?
Depending on where you live and your lifestyle, the leptospirosis vaccines that are included in the seven-in-one shot may not be necessary for your pooch. This bacterial disease is typically spread through the urine of wildlife and is more common in rural areas. If your pup doesn't come into contact with wildlife on a regular basis or you live in an area where the disease isn't considered common, your vet may not recommend the leptospirosis vaccines for your particular pooch. However, if you plan on bringing your pup along on vacations to areas where leptospirosis is common, your vet may want to include it in Fido's vaccination protocol.
The seven-in-one shot contains vaccines that aren't considered essential for your pup's health, classified as "core" vaccines by the American Animal Hospital Association. Of the seven vaccines included, only those for adenovirus, hepatitis, canine distemper and parvovirus are core vaccines. Your pup should first receive these vaccines between six and nine weeks of age. Vaccines for parainfluenza and the two strains of leptospirosis aren't classified as essential for your pooch's health, although your vet may recommend them for your pup. If your vet feels that the parainfluenza or leptospirosis vaccines aren't necessary for Fido, he can receive the four core vaccines in four separate shots, rather than in a combination shot such as the five-in-one or seven-in-one.
The Vaccination Schedule for Fido
Giving leptospirosis vaccines to small dog breeds and pups younger than 12 weeks of age may produce a dangerous allergic reaction, warns the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine website. For this reason, only the core vaccines or a five-in-one shot are appropriate for pups under 12 weeks old. The vaccines are repeated at three- to four-week intervals until your pooch reaches 16 weeks of age, after which a combination shot or separate core vaccines are usually repeated annually. Starting at 12 weeks of age, Fido will also need a separate rabies vaccination, which is a core vaccine and one required by law in most states.