Upcoming start dates: March 6th and April 10th
Space is limited - sign up now at politepuppy@friendshiphospital.com

Congratulations on your new puppy! I wish you the very best for a long and healthy life together. At Friendship Hospital for Animals, we are committed to providing you the most up-to-date, inclusive care for the life of your dog. To help get you started on the right paw, we offer two exciting puppy programs at Friendship.

If you are interested in comprehensive training and wellness care recommendations, I would love for you to enroll in the Polite Puppy Class. This six-week long class is open to puppies ages 8-20 weeks, and will help you sort through the important life-long habits necessary to ensure that you are raising a well-behaved, happy, and healthy dog.

The class is held at the hospital, so that your puppy will develop a strong positive association with hospital visits; making all future trips an enjoyable and stress-free experience.


Rabies and the distemper/parvo combination vaccine are considered “core” vaccines and thus recommended for every dog.  There are many other “lifestyle” vaccines that are given based on the daily routine of you and your dog.  Of the many vaccines available the only three I recommend that dog receive are Bordetella, Leptospirosis and sometimes Lyme.


This is also know as the “kennel cough” vaccine but really it just helps reduce the severity of clinical signs of your dog is exposed to the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica.  “Kennel cough” is a collective term for a highly contagious group of viruses and bacteria that cause irritation in the upper respiratory tract. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, nasal discharge, lethargy, decreased appetite and fever.

Kennel cough infections will most likely resolve without treatment, although the cough might last for 7-10 days. Monitor your pups closely for lethargy, decreased appetite, a yellow/green discharge from the nose, or a fever greater than 103 degrees. These are signs of a secondary bacterial infection that would need to be treated with antibiotics.

Owners often ask me about starting antibiotics immediately but usually we wait as Bordetella is not very responsive to antibiotics. In addition, most of the other infectious agents that cause kennel cough are viral, and therefore cannot be treated with antibiotics.

The kennel cough vaccine does not actually prevent the disease. Instead, it helps boost the immune system to decrease clinical signs and help prevent a more severe infection.  Unless your dog goes to doggie day care, the kennel or the groomers they usually will not need this vaccine as an adult dog.


Leptospirosis is a bacteria transmitted via the urine of an infected animal, most commonly wildlife such as rats, opossums and raccoons. A recent study found that 90% of rats in Baltimore tested positive for Lepto.  These animals urinate in standing water or moist soil where the Lepto bacteria replicate and can live for quite some time. Your dog then comes along and either drinks the contaminated water or steps in the puddle, which allows the bacteria to enter the blood stream through a cut in the skin or through mucus membranes such as eyes, mouth, or nose. People can become infected with Lepto either through contaminated water or via contact with the urine of an infected animal.

Though Lepto can be treated with antibiotics, if the infection is not caught early enough it can permanently damage the kidneys and/or liver, resulting in organ failure. Clinical signs include non-specific flu-like symptoms such as fever, lethargy, decreased appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. With aggressive therapy consisting of intravenous fluids and antibiotics, dogs usually recover. But in some cases, the disease is too advanced by the time we catch it and ends up being fatal.

I recommend that all my patients be vaccinated against Lepto.  Bear in mind, that though the vaccination protects against the four most common strains of Lepto, a vaccinated pet can still be infected with one of the many other strains of the bacteria. 


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