Question for puppy folks re: vaccines (and vet charges)

My sweet Whippet pup is now 16 weeks, and has received 4 DHHP vaccines (approximately 3 weeks apart: two from the breeder and two from my vet), and from what I gather, that is the appropriate vaccine schedule for these shots.

(Not including Lepto or Bordetella or influenza - the latter two of which I may opt for if I plan to take her to a crowded dog area with off-leash nose touching; so far she has been in my training room with fully vaccinated puppies, but no play dates or day care.)

I need to get her in for her Rabies shot, but my vet practice (who has always pushed everything possible for all dogs!) wants to give her a fifth round of the DHHP with the Rabies shot - I have read that they should be given separately. (I really wish they would offer titer testing for dogs who are fully vaccinated, but oh well - that’s a different topic…)

Is a 5th DHPP shot necessary? It’s been awhile since I had all the puppy vaccines given since my older dog is now 11 (and I don’t recall, other than the protocol of 3-4 weeks apart until 15 weeks), but per my breeder and other Whippet puppy owners, it seems standard to give them a total of 4.

Also, this practice does a “well puppy exam” every time you bring the puppy in for vaccines: $85! and this is after they have asked you health screening questions. Obviously this is standard at the first visit with a new pup :wink:, but every time you bring them in for shots in spite of the puppy having had no change in health status in between (and no reaction to the shots)? I asked them about this, and they said that “the vet needs to make sure the puppy is healthy before administering shots” - okay, not unreasonable - but they just “looked at” my puppy again and said “she looks good!” (don’t think they took temp or checked heart again, based on the bill), and charged me $85.

According to others I’ve asked, this is not SOP for all vets. My vet practice is very good, has done well with my Sighthounds over the years, and is 10 minutes away (great for emergencies!), so I don’t plan to jump ship. They do have a reputation for gouging and adding extra tests and throwing the kitchen sink at things (this has been my own experience AND others’ experience; they have a reputation, locally - also for being the priciest practice in our already overly expensive area of Northern VA), but at this point I would like to stick with them as a practice for my puppy through her lifetime (had her chipped with them - also $85), but was just looking for some thoughts on this, so TIA.

FIVE? As a baby dog? Wow, that does seem like an awful lot.

My last puppy is 9 this year, so it’s been awhile! But when I look around at puppy vaccination schedules, I see 3-4 DHPP for baby dogs, then another at a year.

Can you ask for the data behind the fifth puppy booster? That really just seems like overkill!

I agree regarding not wanting the rabies AND another booster, I also prefer to separate those things.


Here’s AKC suggestions on dog vacs. Print this up and show your vet if he argues. Then just say NO.


The dog is adequately vaccinated for DHPP.
I’d decline a 5th dose.
If you want to stick with this practice, I guess you’re on the hook for the exam fee, but I might ask for “evidence” of the exam.
TPR, general once over shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, but if you’re going to charge for it, then, dammit, do it.


Thanks folks! Looks like a consensus :wink:

Tell them all you want is a rabies. No wellness exam, no other vaccinations and see what they say?


It is recommended to booster the DHPP vaccine at least until 16 weeks of age. If she got her last DHPP vaccine prior to 16 weeks then I would booster it again and give it at the same time as the rabies vaccine since most dogs are fine getting them together. If she doesn’t need another DHPP vaccine you will most likely need to pay for another exam for the rabies vaccine since it need to be given by a veterinarian or under the guidance of a veterinarian.

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Question for puppy peeps: is it standard for your vet to perform a complete exam every three weeks when giving puppies shots?

Posts like this make me want to hug my vet. I haven’t had a puppy in years but I recently took my coonhound in for shots, DHLP and rabies, a heartworm check, and anal glands and ears check. Total cost: $156 and that included a tube of ear meds. The techs gave him a bordetella shot that I didn’t request so he didn’t charge me for that.


Hell no- Unless you really like your vet, I’d find another not trying to drain my wallet.


I don’t recall what the wellness check pricing was when I took my dogs in. I had to delegate a lot to family due to a busy work schedule. The one time I took them in for shots the vet just popped the shots in and waved me good-bye, not even giving them more than a passing glance. Those were the yearly boosters. Sure, the visit was cheap. But a little ridiculous.

On the other hand, a different practice noted one of the kittens I had (13 years ago) felt a little warm to the touch. the shots were postponed on that one.

I think the OP needs to outline a firmer stance with the practice if she over all likes them.
I, personally think a pet should actually be checked out by a dutiful vet, even it they have seen them just a few weeks prior. Pups change so fast (and it’s good socializing practice)
75 bucks a visit does not sound too horrible. I think my magic number has been around $150 per pet per visit, including shots and meds if needed.
I prefer the vet who checks over the one who didn’t.
Although the latter has some good old timey advice at times.

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This is the typical schedule I follow.
I can legally wait until pup is 6 months old for first rabies, so that is what I do.
I also don’t vaccinate once the dog has had its last “booster” at 1 year of age, unless titers show the need for it.
Except for the legally required rabies, every 3 years.

I do NOT vaccinate for Lepto ever.
However, if it’s something you feel the need to vaccinate for, I strongly advise you do not combine it with any other vaccinations.

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This sounds like a good protocol (my breeder actually recommended Jean Dodds’s vaccine protocol - neither of us are a fan of over-vaccinating), and yeah. Titers. IF the vets accepts them!

For an example, about a month before getting our puppy, I took my older Whippet in to this practice for a checkup. She had some eye tearing, so I wanted them to check her eyes; she needed a basic wellness exam and vaccine boosters (though I would MUCH prefer titer tests!), and I wanted a Heartworm test (since it had been a couple of months), along with a new supply of Heartworm meds for the year. (WHY heartworm meds have to be “prescription” is beyond me. It’s Ivermectin!)

They did an exam, checked her eyes and said she had some “inflammation”, so gave me some ointment to put in her eyes for 10 days. Did her boosters (Distemper, Rabies), and the Heartworm test - plus 12 months of Heartworm meds.

Cost? $500. :confounded:

When she got bitten and savaged by a loose GSD, the cost for anesthesia, emergency SURGERY, wound repair, anti-inflammatories and antibiotics (same practice), was only around $770!


I am tempted to call them and request JUST the Rabies shot (is this possible??), no wellness exam on a healthy pup, and no 5th round of DHPP. I suspect they will cite “standard practices”, so…Will update this thread, and thanks to everyone for weighing in!

Not quite understanding what you mean here?
It’s not up to the vet to accept it or not.
They can recommend certain services or schedules, but they can’t “require” or demand them.
If this isn’t the case, then find a better vet.

It’ll be a cold day in hell when I go to a vet that “makes” their clients follow a specific vaccination protocol or anything… just because that’s how their practice does things :woman_shrugging:t2:

That is no different than the vets that won’t mark breeder given vaccines as actually being done. It’s freaking ridiculous

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I can’t comment on puppy vaccines, but just a plug for Hoof and Paw in Purcellville, might want to give them a call as an option. They have been fantastic every time I used them and don’t charge crazy fees or unnecessary tests/shots.

I was actually referring to the titers (not commonly accepted), but yes - I’ve “decided against” various recommendations over the years - this practice wants to throw the kitchen sink at EVERYTHING. They obviously can’t hold me at gunpoint! Still - they are a bit over the top, and I was just looking for validation (and feedback) by starting this thread.

I actually know the vet there - but it’s 50 minutes from me - and that’s without excessive traffic!

Yeah, I drove from Ashburn and South Riding. It’s a haul in traffic but was worth it. So much cheaper and the vet actually listened.

I would make an afternoon of it and run by Another Turn and grab dinner at Mod Pizza.

It sounds great, but still too far from me since I live in Fairfax! Route 50 is a nightmare, what if there’s an emergency? That’s the kind of thing that keeps me close to home in terms of a vet.

The newer aaha recommended vaccine schedule is going out to 18 weeks for last dapp. In general, I do not count/consider vaccines not given by a veterinarian to be valid. Too many potential handling issues in the pipeline. No backing from the manufacturer if your pup is a non responder to the vaccine and contracts parvo. Etc.

And I do a full physical examination on every puppy when they come in for their vaccines. Ive identified new inguinal hernias, fractured deciduous canines that have abscessed, early demodex ,etc. Full PE every time. In most states a physical exam is required with a rabies vaccine. Even with our puppy vaccines that are with our certified vet tech she performs a physical exam and if anything is different transfers it to the doctor.

85 for the vaccine and visit is pretty reasonable. Our office visit is $49 and then vaccines on top of that.