It’s no surprise that vaccines have been the talk of the town in recent times. While we may be swamped with loads of information on which Covid-19 vaccine is best, which combinations, and what age they should be taken, the same can’t be said for dog vaccinations.
So here’s everything you need to know about puppy vaccinations in Malaysia.
Why are vaccines important?
Everyone now knows that vaccines help prevent dangerous and contagious diseases. They have been proven to work in certain diseases in humans.
Smallpox has been eradicated in most parts of the world because of the efficacy of its vaccine. Human vaccines for tuberculosis (TB), typhoid fever and measles have also been highly successful.
In dogs, the rabies vaccine is a well-known success story. Rabies is rare in Malaysia due to the success of its vaccination program.
The fact that stray dogs remain unvaccinated has always been a headache for Public Health specialists in Malaysia as the threat of a rabies outbreak (like the recent one in Sarawak) is ever-present.
Most countries have their own tailor-made vaccination programs and protocols that cater to the diseases seen commonly in their region.
This rule applies to both humans and pets. Dog vaccination protocols vary from region to region, but the core vaccines remain the same.
Why does my puppy need to be vaccinated?
Back in the day, before vaccines, loss of life was common a few weeks after being born. This was true for both humans and puppies. When they’re born, puppies rely on the antibodies from their mother’s milk to fend off harmful germs.
This protection wears off within a few weeks, and they then become susceptible to a few dangerous diseases. The right vaccine given at the right time will prevent these diseases from causing loss of life.
What are the vaccines that my puppy needs?
In Malaysia, there are several grouped vaccine schedules that your vet can recommend. Among them are the 6 in 1, 7 in 1, 9 in 1 and 10 in 1 dog vaccine combos.
Without boring you with too much detail, all these combos cover the essential core vaccines for Canine distemper virus (CDV), Canine parvovirus (CPV) and rabies. The additional constituents in these combinations are for various germs that cause canine flu.
Some sources claim Infectious Hepatitis to be a core vaccine too but speak to your vet for more details regarding what vaccines are best for your pup. Your trusted vet will be the best person to discuss the various options and which schedule suits you best.
Canine distemper can manifest in many ways, making it difficult to diagnose. It causes fever, pneumonia, bronchitis, gastroenteritis and even affects the eyes and nervous systems. It can be fatal if not treated early.
Canine parvovirus is common among stray unvaccinated dogs and is highly infectious. It attacks the gastrointestinal system and causes diarrhoea, vomiting, poor feeding, which leads to dehydration and death.
Rabies is a fatal disease for dogs and even for humans. A rabies-infected dog’s bite can bear fatal complications to humans. Its symptoms include an unstable gait, painful neck, excessive salivation and convulsions of the facial muscles.
Unusually aggressive behaviour is seen in dogs with rabies which is why it’s called penyakit anjing-gila locally.
What is the 6 in 1 dog vaccine combo?
The 6 in 1 dog vaccine combo includes vaccines for Canine Distemper, Canine Adenovirus Type 2 (CAV-2), Canine Coronavirus, Canine Parainfluenza and Canine Parvovirus Type 2b.
It comes in a single syringe for a single shot. It can be given for puppies above six weeks of age and is usually the first shot given to all puppies.
Most breeders will have this shot taken care of before your puppy arrives under your care, so check your new furbaby’s vaccine card for the all-important 6 in 1 shot.
Note that the Rabies dog vaccine for puppies isn’t included in this combo as that particular vaccine can only be given at four months.
The Spectra series runs similar combinations 5 in 1, 9 in 1, 10 in 1 etc. Some of which aren’t available in Malaysia, but here’s a table of what the coverage includes.
In Malaysia, Zoetis is a common brand used for both dog and cat vaccines. In dogs, Vanguard Plus 5L is a 7 in 1 combo by Zoetis that is popular.
The price ranges from RM40 to RM75 per shot. Felocell is a 4 in 1 combo by Zoetis that is used in cats.
How will I know which vaccinations are suitable for my puppy?
Your vet will likely ask you a series of questions regarding your pup’s routine and likely schedule.
If it involves visiting boarding kennels, doggie daycare, walks in the jungle, and potential contact with wild animals, or even access to other dogs and strays, you will be recommended a dog vaccination combination with more coverage.
It is also crucial to let your vet know if you plan on entering your puppy into dog shows or competitions and if you will be travelling overseas with your pup.
When does my puppy need to have their vaccinations?
While this may vary from vet to vet, vaccinations for puppies begin as early as six weeks, and the second dose is usually given at ten weeks, with the third dose at 14 weeks.
Subsequently, your pup will require boosters annually, bi-annually or even every five years, depending on your pup’s lifestyle and health.
Are these annual boosters really required?
As mentioned above, your vet will determine how frequent your pup may require boosters. Boosters for Canine Distemper Virus (CDV), Canine Parvovirus (CPV) and infectious hepatitis are usually given annually.
What happens when my puppy is vaccinated?
When vaccinated, puppies are given a small dose of the virus or bacteria. This will stimulate the immune system to develop antibodies that will be able to fight off these germs should they encounter them in the environment.
Could these vaccines cause my puppy to contract the virus/bacteria and become ill?
It’s highly unlikely as the viruses/bacteria used to make vaccines are either killed or weakened/inactivated.
Are there any side effects to these dog vaccines that I need to be worried about?
Your pup might seem a little quiet or out of sorts right after being vaccinated. They are usually less energetic.
Fret not, as they will not be in any discomfort. It’s just their immune system responding to the vaccine. Keep your pup well-rested, and lots of hugs and kisses are highly recommended.
Do contact your vet if your pup isn’t back to its normal self within 24 hours.
How much do these dog vaccinations cost?
The price of dog vaccinations in Malaysia varies quite significantly from one vet to another. Some vets charge consultation during each visit while others don’t.
The average price for dog vaccinations ranges from RM50 to RM100 for each visit.
Do you know you can claim for dog vaccinations now?
Oyen had recently just launched a subscription plan that allow pet owners like you to claim for dog vaccinations.
Not just pet vaccinations, you can also claim for blood test, deworm, deflea and routine checkups.
The cheapest plan starts from RM179/year and you can claim up to a value of RM250. Check out the plan details here.
Lastly, is it OK to not vaccinate my dogs?
It is highly recommended by the Malaysian Kennel Association (MKA) and the Malaysian Small Animal Veterinary Association (MSAVA) that all pet dogs in Malaysia are vaccinated.
Well, there you go! That’s basically everything you need to know about dog vaccinations in Malaysia. Do check out our guide on how much it costs to be a pet owner in Malaysia, and be sure to contact your trusted vet for more details about dog vaccines.