When a Shih Tzu comes into our lives, they become a part of the family who needs not only our love but also our care, so it is important to ensure their good health and protect them from any diseases that could be contracted in order to guarantee their long, healthy, and happy life. With that in mind, a Shih Tzu Vaccination is a must.

One of the most important things you need to do after getting a Shih Tzu is to go to the veterinarian so you can be informed on what vaccines are needed to be administered to your Shih Tzu and what their schedules are. The veterinarian, prior to vaccination, will perform a complete examination (temperature, mucous membranes, ganglia, abdomen) to ensure that your Shih Tzu is healthy and is ready to be vaccinated. They know very well what the characteristics of a Shih Tzu are and the probability of them getting different diseases so they are the most appropriate people to approach when you want to know what the appropriate vaccination plan is for your Shih Tzu.

Dogs need to be vaccinated to protect them from diseases that can put their health, lives and sometimes your own life in danger. Thus, vaccines are a preventive treatment to diseases to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria. The vaccines introduce defense antibodies to your Shih Tzu’s body to help them fight against dangerous and deadly diseases.

Shih Tzu puppies are different from adults because they receive immunity from their mother first, thanks to the antibodies from the breast milk. These antibodies are transmitted throughout the puppy’s body for 24 hours after breastfeeding and then disappear. If the puppy is not properly protected after their lactation period by means of vaccination on time, they can have parasites transmitted by their mother. Therefore, it is important to deworm your Shih Tzu puppy first before starting vaccination.

Shih Tzus are especially vulnerable to Parvovirus so they should be given the first dose of their vaccine before 45 days.

DOG VACCINATION LAW

Some vaccines are mandatory by law , others are not mandatory but in some cases, it is good to evaluate the opportunity for your Shih Tzu to have them. At the first vaccine, the veterinarian issues you a health booklet which keeps track of the calendar of vaccinations and reminders for your Shih Tzu. It is very important to keep it with you carefully both as a reminder and as a document to be presented at the request of the authority.

Shih Tzu Vaccination

THE IMPORTANCE OF SHIH TZU VACCINATION

Many infectious diseases have been managed thanks to the use of vaccines. For this reason, your veterinarian will always advise you to vaccinate your Shih Tzu since it reduces the risk of infection and premature deaths as in the case of Moquillo or Parvovirus. In addition to that, if you follow the Shih Tzu vaccination plan correctly, you are contributing to create a group immunity so that not only will your Shih Tzu be protected but you also help in avoiding epidemics that could affect immunosuppressed dogs or those that are allergic to vaccines.

There are many people who ask us why they should vaccinate their Shih Tzu. There are many reasons that would convince you to do so. Some of them includes the following:

  • First of all, protect your Shih Tzu’s health. In fact, for the majority of cases, the vaccine works. It is true that there are risks but there are many dogs whose lives are saved by vaccines.
  • Strengthen the immune system. It strengthens it through the introduction of inactive viruses. This generally causes your Shih Tzu to be stronger and less prone to numerous diseases, even those for which they are not vaccinated for.
  • Remember that there are some diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Therefore it is essential to vaccinate your Shih Tzu against these diseases to protect your health as well.

DEWORMING BEFORE VACCINATION

It is necessary to deworm your Shih Tzu internally and externally before their first vaccine. The different types of parasites can alter the health of your Shih Tzu and therefore the vaccines may not be as effective as they should be. Once your Shih Tzu’s vaccinations are finished, they must be internally dewormed every 3-4 months and before each revaccination to ensure the effectiveness of each vaccine.

SHIH TZU VACCINATION SCHEDULE

Shih Tzu Vaccination Plan

To give you an idea on the basic Shih Tzu vaccination schedule, below is a basic vaccination plan that you can follow:

  • At 45 days: first dose of the Parvovirus vaccine.
  • At 9 weeks of age: the second vaccine should be done that will be for the protection against distemper, Adenovirus type 2, Infectious hepatitis C and Leptospirosis. This is also when the second dose of the Parvovirus vaccine is done. A Coronavirus vaccine is optional in this stage.
  • At 12 weeks of age: one dose of the previous vaccine and the third of Parvovirus are done once again.
  • From 4 months of age: the Rabies vaccine.
  • Repeat the pentavalent vaccine (Parvovirus / Moquillo / Hepatitis / Parainfluenza / Leptospirosis) and Rabies annually.
  • Subsequently, and optionally, you can opt for vaccines to protect them against Parainfluenza, kennel cough, Lyme disease, Leishmaniasis, and Coronavirus.

If you want to know more about the complete schedule of each vaccine, below is a table containing all the information about it:

Disease Etiological Agent Duration of Immunity 1st Vaccine Series Revaccination/s
Distemper Canine DistemperVirus, CDV 5-7 years Low risk: 8 + 12 weeks

High risk: 6 + 9-11 + 12-14 weeks

1st after a

subsequent year: every 3 years

Parvovirus Canine Parvovirus 2, CPV-2 7 years Low risk: 8 + 12 weeks

High risk: 6 + 9-11 + 12-14 weeks

1st after a

subsequent year : every 3 years

Infectious hepatitis and kennel cough (Infectious tracheobronchitis) Canine Adenovirus 1, CAdv-1

Canine Adenovirus 2, CAdv-2

7 years Low risk: 8 + 12 weeks

High risk: 6 + 9-11 + 12-14 weeks

1st after a

subsequent year : every 3 years

Kennel cough (Infectious Tracheobronchitis) 2 Canine Parainfluenza Virus, CPIV 3 years Low risk: 8 + 12 weeks

High risk: 6 + 9-11 + 12-14 weeks

1st after a

subsequent year : every 3 years

Leptospirosis Leptospira interrogans about 12 months Low risk: 12 + 16 weeks

High risk: 12 + 15-16 + 18-19 weeks

1st after a

subsequent year : At least every year

Anger Rabies Virus 3 years Not earlier than 3 months of age 1st after a

subsequent year : every 1-3 years

Lyme disease Borrella burgdorferi about 12 months only dogs on request: 6-9 weeks Close calls
Coronavirus Canine Coronavirus about 12 months only dogs on request: 6-9 weeks
Ringworm or Dermatophytosis Microsporum canis only dogs on request: 6-8 weeks Recalls every 9 months with 2 spaced inoculations of 14 days
Piroplasmosis or Babesiosis Babesia canis only dogs on request: 20 + 23-24 weeks Annual or semi-annual calls

It is important to be aware of the types of vaccines that your Shih Tzu needs to have even before welcoming them into your home to be truly aware of the commitment that this entails.

Having a Shih Tzu does not only include the positive aspects such as company, having a trusted pal, the affection, and the contagious joy that it can give you. It also the more demanding aspects, which involve taking care of them, feeding them, and ensuring they have adequate veterinary assistance.


Vaccinating a Shih Tzu

IS SHIH TZU VACCINATION MANDATORY?

Although there are disadvantages to the use of vaccines in Shih Tzus including the price and the excessive revaccination, there are vaccines that you are required to have for your Shih Tzu. The main one is the Rabies vaccine.

This vaccine is not effective before the first 12 weeks of your Shih Tzu’s life. It is administered after 4 months and your Shih Tzu will be protected after 14 days. For this reason, if you want to travel with them, we recommend that you have the veterinarian inject it at least one month before the trip. It may happen that in the country of destination, they will not let your Shih Tzu in or quarantine them for fifteen days so it’s best to do your research beforehand. Once the first dose is injected, it is important to repeat it annually.

When your Shih Tzu is just a puppy, they need to be vaccinated against Parvovirus which should be one of the firsts of their vaccines because of its high mortality rate aside from Moquillo. It is important to repeat it annually.

Your veterinarian might recommend that you include in your Shih Tzu’s annual vaccination schedule those for other types of contagious diseases to prevent infections. These vaccines are optional, but we recommend their administration to avoid unnecessary scares.

SIDE EFFECTS OF SHIH TZU VACCINATION

Vaccines are necessary for the welfare of our Shih Tzus since its purpose is to mobilize their defenses against certain diseases. However, sometimes there are problems arising from them such as certain side effects that manifest themselves in different ways. Such adverse reactions usually take place three days after the injection and occur more frequently in young Shih Tzus. The Rabies and the leptospirosis vaccine are the ones that have the most side effects, although this depends largely on the individual circumstances of each Shih Tzu.

The side effects of vaccines are not usually very serious since before your Shih Tzu receives its dose, they have been tested to be totally safe. The most frequent side effects that have been detected in vaccines includes the following:

  • Numbness: Your Shih Tzu would be more sleepy than usual.
  • Apathy: You Shih Tzu may show little desire to go outside or play with other dogs. Either because of the numbness or the stress of having taken to the vet.
  • Intestinal disorders: Some vaccines can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, or vomiting so it is common for your Shih Tzu to show poor appetite.
  • Inflammation in the injected area: The appearance of a lump in the puncture site is due to the fact that the vaccine liquid has not been absorbed yet. It will disappear in a few days, you just have to make sure that the area is not scratched to avoid injuries.
  • Respiratory problems: It is the least common, but your Shih Tzu may have mucus, cough or some flu.
  • Afalaxia: The most serious of all. Your Shih Tzu will not be able to breathe well because his throat or muzzle is swollen. They may have a weak pulse, diarrhea, or vomiting. In this case, you have to take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Another frequent side-effect is the swelling of the eyelids and lips, often accompanied by generalized itching and/or hives. In this case, you must take your Shih Tzu to a clinic as soon as possible so that the inflammation does not spread to your Shih Tzu’s delicate areas such as the larynx. The vet will give your Shih Tzu a corticosteroid and check their condition in the following days.

On the other hand, sometimes your Shih Tzu will develop a fever or have a slight tooth decay . On this occasion, it is best to take them to the veterinarian as a way of prevention to avoid more serious problems. The veterinarian can prescribe some medicine to fight the pain and fever.

Gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and / or diarrhea may also occur during the hours after vaccination. Most likely, the veterinarian will suggest the administration of antiemetic products to prevent vomit and gastric sickness. This is accompanied by a soft diet and frequent check-ups.

Finally, in the worst case, your dog may be a victim of anaphylactic shock which usually occurs 20 minutes after vaccination. It manifests itself through severe hypotension and a serious condition on the cardiovascular system. This requires urgent veterinary attention including an adrenaline injection and possible admission.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF SHIH TZU VACCINES

To know what vaccines are necessary for your Shih Tzu vaccination and when it’s appropriate to perform them, it is very important to go first to the veterinarian’s office so that they can perform a check-up on your Shih Tzu’s health so they can make a personalized vaccination schedule.

Below are the basic Shih Tzu vaccines that the veterinarian might recommend.

The essential vaccines

They are called that because they are against diseases that if contracted can compromise the life of your Shih Tzu. In our country, dogs are always protected against diseases and viruses such as:

  • Canine Distemper: This is a multisystemic disease that mainly affects the lungs, intestine, and brain. The usual symptoms are fever, nasal, ocular secretion, tiredness and/or neurological signs such as tremors or convulsions. This is usually a very contagious and deadly disease in most cases. A Shih Tzu is usually injected by this the first time at 6 weeks of age and then another one is made at two, three and four months and then a year to continue the rest of his life every three years.
  • Parvovirus: As we said before, it is a very contagious viral disease that affects the intestine and white blood cells and causes vomiting and diarrhea and that can put your Shih Tzu’s life at risk in a few days if it is not treated in time. It is given the first time at 6 weeks of age and then another one is made at two, three and four months and then a year to continue the rest of his life every three years.
  • Rabies: Being a viral disease that can be transmitted to humans through bites, it is mostly in some countries and in most autonomous communities mandatory by law. Rabies affects the central nervous system and is lethal in most cases. The first dose is given at 4 months of age and then every year.

Non-essential vaccines

In addition to the described vaccines above, there are also others that can fight against diseases that are not as serious as the previous ones. Their administration also provides health and well-being to your Shih Tzu. Here are some of them:

  • Benign disease also known as “kennel cough” similar to human cold: It mainly affects the respiratory system causing inflammation of the trachea and the usual symptoms are dry cough and appearance of whitish phlegm.
  • Fecal: It is an infectious intestinal viral disease that affects dogs of all ages, but mainly puppies.
  • Heartworms: It would be another of the optional vaccines to protect your Shih Tzu from a disease caused by a parasite and that is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. If it is not detected and treated in time, it can be fatal.

Polyvalent Vaccine

These types of vaccines include antibodies to several diseases and are given in a single injection so that your Shih Tzu is protected from all these diseases.

The most common polyvalent vaccines are:

  • Pentavalent: Contains the Moquillo, Hepatitis, Kennel Cough, Parvovirus and Parainfluenza vaccine.
  • Hexavalent: Contains all of the above, plus the vaccine for Leptospirosis and another strain of Parvovirus.
  • Octavalent: It has the previous vaccines in its components plus other strains of Leptospirosis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza, and also Coronavirus.

Vet vaccinating a shih tzu

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO VACCINATE A SHIH TZU?

It’s hard to say how much a Shih Tzu vaccine costs because there are many variables to consider such as

  • The type of vaccine: a tetravalent does not cost as much as a heptavalent, a vaccine for Parvovirus does not cost as much as that for Piroplasmosis
  • Vaccine brand
  • Region and province of origin: the cost of living in the UK is different from the cost of living in the USA, therefore a vaccine made in the UK may cost more than a vaccine made in the USA.
  • Veterinarian fee: there is no fixed veterinarian fee so each veterinarian and each clinic structure implements its own fee

A vaccine can range from 20 to 50 euros, but we also get to 70-100 euros or more as in the case of the Piroplasmosis or Leishmaniasis vaccine. It also depends on the vaccination schedule set by the veterinarian. There are protocols that provide for the inoculation of heptavalent, others break up the vaccines into multiple doses. 

Let’s assume that a heptavalent with L4 is administered for two consecutive months at 50 euros each: in total, at the end of the vaccination cycle, you have spent 100 euros. Let’s hypothesize a second protocol where this heptavalent is broken up: Cimurro + Parvovirus + Hepatitis + Kennel Cough separated from Leptospirosis, first making the quadrivalent, then after a few weeks the Leptospirosis, then after a month the cycle is repeated, then first quadrivalent and then the Leptospirosis. Maybe each of these vaccines is charged at 25 euros, so it may pay less. But what is 25×4? That’s right: always 100 euros. So you paid less but went more often.

This is just an example to explain how the vaccination protocol can affect the cost of vaccinations. A necessary clarification: you pay every single vaccine. Just because you paid the first one doesn’t mean that the others are already included. The payment is intended for a single vaccination. Second clarification: that price is not only indicative of the physical cost of the vaccine, it also includes the visit. So it would be more correct to calculate the cost as visitation fee per visit + dog vaccine.

Shih Tzu Vaccination Ready

SHIH TZU VACCINATION TIPS

  • Do not vaccinate lactating Shih Tzu puppies.
  • Properly deworm puppies before vaccination and throughout the vaccination period.
  • Respect the quarantine period. When they are still puppies and have not yet received vaccines, it is advisable not to put them in contact with other dogs whose health is not in good condition as they are very vulnerable and can get any disease that can be fatal.
  • Meet the deadlines for the reinforcement of some vaccines.  It is very important to follow this advice thoroughly, especially during its first year.
  • Take into account the mandatory vaccines of each country when traveling.
  • Always consult with a veterinarian before administering vaccines.