Veterinary Care Overview

Why is proper veterinary care so important? 

  • Routine vet care enables us to give our guide dog puppies the best possible chance of growing up happy, healthy, and vibrant.
  • It also allows us to be proactive in dealing with the health of our puppies.
  • Since our puppies have been bred for guide work, we want to ensure that they are in peak condition at all times for the important career path that lies ahead of them.

The puppy’s vaccine schedule has already started and provided to you in your puppy raising contract information.

The puppy requires a vet appointment for each of the vaccines listed on the puppy’s personalized vet schedule. Please call your assigned vet hospital at least 1 week in advance to make an appointment for the pup on or about the date given.

What to expect

During the pup’s exam, the vet will note the general condition of the pup. The doctor will check the eyes, ears, mouth, teeth, coat, skin, and paws. The doctor may run his/her hands along the puppy’s body looking for any sensitive area, checking the size of the lymph  glands, and looking for any unusual bumps. Some vets may take the pup’s temperature. This initial exam should help to pick up anything unusual about the pup’s health.

It is important to practice body handling so the pup is comfortable with another person performing a physical examination.

Anything other than a normal check-up should be reported to the Guide Dog Foundation immediately! The puppy has its own medical file at the Guide Dog Foundation. We need to keep accurate notes, not only for the health of the dog, but for information for the Breeding Department.

If, at any point, you think the pup may require medical attention that is not an emergency (such as for limping, an ear infection, flaky skin), please contact your advisor or area coordinator before calling your vet.


Why vaccinate? In the event the puppy is exposed to a disease we vaccinate for, it will already have some protection against the virus. A vaccine exposes the puppy’s immune system to the disease in a form that the puppy’s body can fight off. This prepares the puppy’s body defenses against attack in the event it encounters the disease in the future.

The pup receives vaccinations for these diseases. Please refer to the vaccination schedule for the puppy that is included in this manual.

  • Distemper A highly contagious disease caused by a virus. It is known to attack the cells that line the surfaces of the body (eye membranes, airways, and mucous membranes of the intestinal tract). Fever, loss of appetite, listlessness, and watery discharge from the eyes and nose are the first-stage indicators of the disease. Stage indicators of the disease.
  • Infectious canine hepatitis A highly contagious viral disease transmitted only to dogs. It primarily affects the liver, kidneys, and lining of the blood vessels. Fever, painful movement, “tucked up belly,” vomiting, refusal to eat, bloody diarrhea, and squinting and tearing of the eyes are some of the acute symptoms in an affected affected affected dog.
  • Leptospirosis This disease is caused by a bacteria that enters a dog’s system through a break in the skin, or via the mouth when the dog drinks water or eats food contaminated by infected urine. Leptospirosis primarily affects the kidneys and the liver. Ulcers form on the membranes of the mouth and tongue; vomiting, diarrhea, and bleeding from the mouth are some symptoms of the disease.
  • Rabies A fatal disease that can occur in nearly all warm-blooded animals. The virus is present in infected saliva, and usually enters at the site of bite. Skunks, raccoons, bats, foxes, and other wild carnivores can carry the disease. The signs and symptoms of rabies are caused by encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). Personality changes, avoiding light, and seeking seclusion are some symptoms of the disease.
  • Canine parvovirus (CPV) Parvo is a highly infections, often fatal disease that can occur in puppies that are not fully vaccinated. The signs and symptoms of parvo are diarrhea and vomiting, lethargy, and dehydration.
  • Kennel cough (tracheobronchitis) Viruses and bacteria, alone or in combination, are causative agents. A harsh, dry spastic cough is a characteristic sign of illness. Kennel cough gets its name from the fact that often dogs are exposed to it while boarding where other dogs have it. We vaccinate with Bordetella or Intra Trac II (intranasal) against this virus. 4-2