When I finished my veterinary curriculum, there were plenty of things I wasn’t aware of concerning puppies & kittens. The term “critical period” clearly did not ring a bell… Today, I know better. I understand why this term is essential, especially when you have – or will have- puppies & kittens. I understand why it is important to always discuss it with our breeders.
The “critical period” (which is the literal translation of the french term – in English it is often referred to as “immunity gap”) happens in all puppies & kittens. It has potential consequences, especially in a breeding structure.
What is it ?
In previous posts (see here ) we touched on the importance of colostrum in newborns, this first milk of the mother which contains a high concentration of antibodies that will provide the puppy / kitten that drinks it its first immune system. The slideshare below shows you what happens as the puppy / kitten grows : this initial immune system will progressively wane off. Some antibodies will be destroyed, some will be consumed in contact with some of the pathogens in the environment… and growth per se will obviously decrease their concentration too.