Now on to vet care! With me (Jim) being a vet, we take care of all the pre-transfer medical things here at Daybreak, as do most breeders. I will tell you what we do and recommend, and you can expect something close with most breeders.
First, deworming. We start deworming at 3 weeks of age, and repeat every 3 weeks, so your pup will have 2 dewormings with a drug called pyrantel pamoate under it's belt when you pick him up.
Further, we use a medication called toltrazuril to protect against coccidia, a common protozoan parasite, again giving one dose at 3 and 6 weeks.
Vaccinations. Vaccinations are started at 6 weeks of age. This is about the earliest that the pup's maternal antibody protection (which can interfere with vaccination) will start to wear off. We use a high quality DA2P-CPV vaccine, which covers distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza, and adenovirus type 2. So, your pup will have one of these under his belt when you get him.
I highly recommend that you schedule a visit with your vet soon after getting your pup home. He has only had 1 of a series of vaccinations, and is in NO WAY done with his shots yet!
The regular dewormings will also need to be continued. At my practice, I usually give the second puppy vaccination at 9 or 10 weeks of age, and the third at 12 weeks of age. The 2nd and 3rd shots contain a fraction protecting against leptospirosis ("lepto"), a devastating and hard to diagnose disease fairly common in our area. You and your vet may or may not decide to vaccinate against Bordatella ("kennel cough"), Lyme disease, or other diseases problematic in your area.
Of course, rabies vaccination is required by law in all jurisdictions, and is usually given at about 4 months of age.
We include in your puppy goody bag his first month's dose of heartworm preventative, Iverheart Plus, which I recommend giving at 8 weeks of age. Continue as advised by your vet.
There are as many deworming protocols and vaccination schedules as there are vets, and most of them are fine. If you trust your vet, you should be able to leave this up to them.
Certain overly (in my opinion) "holistic" vets and breeders will advise against vaccinating, and recommend herbal cures for deworming (and most everything else!). Proceed with caution here;
distemper and parvo still exist, and you hunters sure don't want an "Old Yeller" scenario where your dog tangles with a rabid animal and has to be put down! I myself practice integrative medicine, where I use alternative, aka "holistic", therapies along with more conventional ones, so I am not against holistic methods as a whole, but I do believe that, as in most things in life, there is a balance or "happy medium" that delivers the best of both worlds!
This should get you started. Let me close by emphasizing the importance of regular vet visits. Some owners skip yearly visits, or opt for "shot clinics" or feed store vaccine. While this may adequately vaccinate your dog, you are missing out on the opportunity of an experienced vet getting their eyes, ears, and hands on ol' Scout or Sadie, and thereby miss the opportunity for early, often life saving, diagnosis of serious problems. Serious diagnoses happen in my practice constantly, and the owners are so glad they opted to bring their pet in rather than save a few bucks and have cancer, heart worm, heart failure, or some other serious malady go undiagnosed until too late.
Loosing a pet is a heart wrenching thing, made all the more so when you know that it was preventable. Believe, me, myself and the
vast majority of my colleagues love your pet and you more than your money! We really want to help.
To spay/neuter or not? If so, when? These two simple questions have been the source of never ending debate among breeders, owners, animal control folks, and vets for a long time. I am making my
argument primarily from the perspective of a pet owner, secondly as a vet, and thirdly, and within a very limited scope, as a breeder.
Definitions: neuter- surgical castration (male). spay- surgery to remove ovaries and uterus (female).
Lets start with a list of pros and cons for animal sterilization, actually just dogs since this is a dog website.
SPAY: Pros: can't get pregnant (depends on owner desire); won't go into heat (which is usually twice a year for dogs); reduces or eliminates risk of mammary (breast) cancer; eliminates risk of pyometra (life threatening uterine infection).
Cons: dogs tend to get and stay overweight; breeding is permanently not an option, i,e, it is irreversible.
NEUTER: Pros: can't make a female dog pregnant; reduce or eliminate tendency to roam and / or fight for breeding rights; reduce tendency toward secondary male sexual behavior, such as aggression, urine marking, "humping", etc.; eliminates possibility of testicular cancer (especially important for dogs named Lance!); reduce or eliminate chance of prostate disease, including cancer.
Cons: Dogs tend to get and stay overweight; eliminates to some extent muscle development of canine athletes; renders dog permanently incapable of reproduction.
At first glance, it may seem to most people that the arguments Pro spay/neuter far outweigh the Cons, and this is probably correct for most pet owners, with some important qualifications. I am, and have always been, in disagreement with "baby neutering/spaying" as practiced by most humane societies, rescues, and some vets. These early sterilizations reliably produce fat, sexually indistinguishable (except by checking their "junk"), little rolly-polly puppies. They also have anatomical and urological problems unique to this class of animal, and their tendency to gain excessive weight early in their lives plays havoc with their skeletal development.
I diverge from the mainstream on this, I know, but I am basing my opinion on decades (3 plus) of observation, not on some blind allegiance to the "spay early and often" movement. I do recommend that anyone not intending to breed their dog have them neutered, but I highly recommend that they wait until the dog is at least 6 months old, and preferably older. Spaying by one year of age will still protect against mammary cancer and virtually any chance of pyometra, just as neutering by that age will protect against testicular and prostate pathology.
A word about retained testicles: they should ALWAYS be removed, as they are highly likely to become cancerous, usually malignant! A retained testicle is any testicle that has not fully descended into the scrotum.
This is non negotiable!
Obviously, if one intends to use his dog/s for breeding, neutering/spaying is not an option, The medical conditions associated with not sterilizing a dog are uncommon, and are usually easily recognized by the conscientious owner. The owner of an intact dog, i.e. not spayed/neutered, needs to take precaution against their dog's getting pregnant, causing a pregnancy, or running loose in search of "a good time".
Signs of some possible hormone driven diseases of intact dogs are:
Male: 1)prostatitis- pain / difficulty of defecation; signs of urinary infection (such as more frequent urination, accidents in the house) 2) testicular cancer enlargement of (usually) one testicle, in some cases accompanied with atrophy (shrinking) of the other testicle.
Female: 1) Pyometra- (usually happens between 4-8 weeks after the end of heat)- lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting and , most frequently and readily notable, extreme increase in water consumption. THIS IS LIFE THREATENING-SEE YOUR VET IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!
2) mammary cancer- swellings/lumps, skin changes over mammary area, or foul smelling/nasty looking discharge from nipple(s). THIS IS ALSO VERY SERIOUS. SEEK VETERINARY CARE RIGHT AWAY!
I have now, and have had in the past, several intact dogs of both genders, and I have found that the behavioral issues often blamed on the presence of gonads, especially testicles, are largely overstated. We train our dogs, and expect them to behave, period. The only dog we have ever had to find a new home for due to aggression was a neutered male! (NOT one of our setters, mind you!) So, if you allow your dog run the show, he/she may well run rough shod over you,and this may be intensified by the presence of sex hormones. In short, do yourself and your dog a favor; be the boss, take charge, and GET HIM/HER TRAINED!!! I promise, you will both be happier.
The opinions expressed in this section are mine and it will take a HUGE amount of money to change my mind...JB
English Setters are very easy to groom, and tend to stay pretty clean. A good bath when needed with a mild shampoo will do the trick. Even here in Georgia, home of sticky red Georgia clay, our dogs stay amazingly clean. This cannot be said for my Old english sheepdog, who is a walking dust mop and permanently "peach" colored!
Check their ears monthly, and keep them free of wax. It is a good idea to play with their toes as pups so they will be used to having their feet held for nail trimming. Once the feathering grows in (this could be up to two years on some dogs), a gentle combing will keep them smooth and free of matting.