Jess’s Blog

| December 16, 2015


Say hello to Jess, a gorgeous 7 week old Labrador puppy! We will be showing you Jess's journey from the beginning right through to her first yearly booster.



Jess and Sarah


04/01/16 – Happy New Year! What a busy week…


Whilst we have been enjoying a quiet Christmas and New Year, Jess has had a very busy time!

She thoroughly enjoyed her first puppy class, making a new friend in Ted the miniature Daschund – video to follow soon!


Jess has been continuing her socialisation at home – even meeting alpacas!


Jess and alpacas


House training has been going well, with very close supervision, rewarding her for getting it right, and restricting her to her ‘den’ in the utility room when she can’t be watched closely.


Jess in her crate Jess in her crateJess in her crate


Jess also had her second vaccination on Saturday, including Kennel Cough, which gets sprayed up the nose. She behaved very well for it!



It’s enough to make anyone want to cuddle up with a Christmas toy and have a snooze!


Jess having a snooze with her toy



21/12/15 – Disease Risk vs Early Socialisation

Jess has been booked in for her first puppy socialisation class today. This might raise some eyebrows, as her vaccination schedule has only just been started. In this particular case, however, her owner has never had a puppy before, and will be missing some sessions due to the festive season. The benefits of giving the owner important information without delay, outweigh the minimal risk of disease in a carefully managed and clean environment.


Vaccination does not have an instant effect. It takes time for the immune system to be armed and ready to fight the diseases we are trying to protect them against.




The usual advice is not to put a puppy down where they might be exposed to those diseases until one to three week after the final vaccination. However, if we did not take puppies out and about until 13 to 16 weeks of age, they would miss out on a huge number of socialisation opportunities.

We know that early (up to 12 weeks) socialisation has a massive effect on a dog’s ability to cope with the world we expect them to live in. Keeping them inside might protect them from disease, but could mean they are more likely to be rehomed or even put to sleep due to a behaviour problem in later life.

We have to balance the risk of disease, with the benefits of early socialisation. This will depend on disease prevalence in an area, puppy background, age and development. We would generally advise;


1.       You can carry your puppy around, out and about, straight away.

2.       Your puppy can go out in your garden straight away – disease risk from wildlife is minimal.

3.       You can visit friends whose dogs are vaccinated and the puppy can go down in their garden or their dog come into your garden (if they like puppies!)

4.       Don’t put your puppy down on the ground where unvaccinated dogs might have been, until 1 week after the second DHP vaccination.

5.       Avoid areas where there might be rats, such as farmland or waterways until 3 weeks after the second L4 injection. (Leptospirosis is carried in rats urine).

6.       Puppies can come to our socialisation classes at the vets, from 1 week after their first vaccination.


These guidelines are not set in stone. Some people may live in places where it is not feasible to stick to them. Some puppies may have come to their new home quite late, and started their vaccinations quite late, in which case making up for lost socialisation time may be more important.

The Tavistock area is not a very high risk location for the diseases we are vaccinating against. Whilst we need to be sensible, and avoid busy parks where there are more likely to be unvaccinated dogs, in many cases the benefits of early socialisation outweigh the potential risk of exposure to disease.



19/12/15 – Roundworms and Tapeworms and Fleas – Oh My!

As part of her first consultation yesterday, Kathy also put together Jess’s parasite  treatment protocol. Puppies can come from, and live in, very different environments, with very different exposure risk factors, so the vet will devise a treatment plan that is appropriate for that individual animal. Most puppies are born with roundworms which, if left untreated, can become so big a burden that it affects growth and development.

Some new puppies may bring fleas with them, which need treating before they affect the animal’s health, and to prevent the fleas from infesting the new house. Flea infestations are much easier to prevent than to get rid of, so we do recommend regular application of an effective treatment.

Jess will be having monthly treatment with ENDECTRID, which covers several different parasites, including fleas and roundworm. 

Dogs often get tapeworm from fleas, so as long as she is being treated regularly, and has no signs of fleas or tapeworm infestation, she will only need treating with QUANTEX tapewormer every SIX months.


Flea treamtent


Our Healthy Pets Club membership covers the cost of all parasite treatments that Jess will need this year.


Useful resources:

We have a useful Flea handout, if you would like this please ask a member of staff.

To find out more about fleas, ticks, and other unwanted little passengers, visit  It’s A Jungle Out There!



18/12/15 – 1st Vaccination

Jess came to see Kathy today, for a health check and her first vaccination. As you can see in the video below, she didn’t mind at all and was a first class patient!

As a member of our Healthy Pets Club, Jess’s vaccination protocol includes:


8 weeks of age Nobivac DHP Nobivac L4 Covers Distemper, Adenovirus (hepatitis) and Parvovirus. Covers four types of Leptospirosis (known as Weil’s disease in humans).

10 weeks Nobivac DHP Nobivac KC To further ‘prime’ her system to the same viruses. Covers Bordatella bacteria (kennel cough) and parainfluenza .

12 weeks Nobivac L4 To further ‘prime’ her system to Leptospiros.


Sometimes a vaccination program may have been started whilst the puppy was still with the breeder, or with a vaccine from a different manufacturer, or the puppy may be a little older when the program is started, and the vet will alter the protocol accordingly.

In order to maintain immunity, some elements of the vaccines need boosting every 3 years, some every 2 years, but Leptospirosis does need a booster vaccination every year.




16/12/2015 – Greet & Treat

Jess came in today for her first ‘Greet & Treat’ appointment, with Sarah, one of our Veterinary Nurses. Her owner has never had a dog before, so this was the ideal opportunity to discuss the strategy for house training, nutrition options, and spot any potential problems.

Sarah said "Jess’s owner did a lot of reading before she got her puppy, and has already started using The Puppy Plan online to make the most of early socialisation opportunities, which is an excellent resource.

Nothing quite prepares you though, for the chaos and culture shock of having a new puppy in your house – it’s almost like having a toddler to look after. Meeting your nurse as soon as you can, having someone to go to with questions and reassurance that you are doing things right makes a huge difference, especially to the novice puppy owner. Having these sessions before the first vaccination also ensures the puppy’s first experience of going to the Vets is a pleasant one."

Jess has been signed up for our Healthy Pets Club, which will cover the cost of all her vaccinations, flea and worming treatments, 10% discount off everything at the Practice and money off Royal Canin puppy food.



Jess and Sarah

Sarah recommends:

‘The Perfect Puppy’ by Gwen Bailey, for general puppy care and information – a socialisation plan which shows you how to make the most of your puppy’s early learning experiences, week by week.

Our Healthy Pet Club – more information can be found here:



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