Vaccinations for Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Adenovirus-2, Canine Parvovirus, and Canine Parainfluenza Virus are often given as a combination vaccine, known as “DHPP” or “DA2PP”.  This vaccines is considered a “core vaccine”, as it  combines the most important diseases to vaccinate your young puppy or adult dog against. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends an initial vaccine series every 3-4 weeks between the ages of 6 and 16 weeks, with the final dose of the initial series between 14 and 16 weeks.  Puppies completing this initial vaccination series by 16 weeks of age or younger should receive a single booster vaccination no later than 1 year after completion of the initial series and revaccinated every 3 years thereafter. 

The following is a brief explanation of the viruses that this vaccine aims to prevent:

Canine Distemper Virus:

Canine Distemper Virus is a contagious, often fatal disease that affects three main body systems:  the respiratory system, gastrointestinal system, and the nervous system.  Clinical signs include sneezing, coughing, fever, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and neurologic symptoms, which are often severe in nature.  Transmission is through direct contact with infected dogs or from airborne secretions.  Puppies are at the highest risk of contracting this virus. Symptoms often start with coughing and a thick discharge from the nose and eyes. Completing a complete puppy vaccination series and reducing exposure to unvaccinated dogs is the best way to prevent this disease.

Canine Adenovirus-2:

This virus has been implicated as a cause of canine infectious tracheobronchitis (also called “kennel cough”).  Vaccination against Canine Adenovirus-2 also helps provide protection against Canine Adenovirus-1, which causes a disease of the liver called Infectious Canine Hepatitis. Symptoms of Canine Adenovirus-2 include coughing, a runny nose, and fever, and can progress to more serious disease such as pneumonia. Young unvaccinated dogs and puppies are most susceptible, so the best way to protect your dog is through providing a complete puppy series and boosters to adult dogs, as recommended by your veterinarian.

Canine Parvovirus:

Canine Parvovirus is a highly contagious, aggressive, and often fatal disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract and other rapidly growing cells of puppies and older, unvaccinated dogs.  The first symptoms of this disease are lethargy, decreased appetite, bloody diarrhea, and severe vomiting.  This virus is transmitted by direct contact with infected animals, feces, and fomites (objects that may contain the virus), and can survive for long periods of time in the environment. Treatment for this disease can be quite costly, often including extended hospitalization, IV fluids, antibiotics, gastroprotectant medication, and anti-nausea medication. The absolute best way to prevent this disease is through appropriate vaccination as a puppy, and by reducing exposure to other unvaccinated dogs (dog parks, doggie daycare, puppy training classes, etc) until your puppy has completed their puppy vaccine series.

Canine Parainfluenza Virus:

Canine Parainfluenze Virus is another common and contagious cause of canine infectious tracheobronchitis (also called “kennel cough”).  Transmission of this virus is through airborne secretions.  Dogs of all age are highly susceptible, not just puppies. This virus is commonly seen in environments where a number of dogs are housed closely together such as dog parks, groomers, kennels, or animal shelters. Symptoms of this virus include coughing, fever, nasal discharge, decreased appetite, and lethargy. It is important to help prevent this disease by completing a complete puppy vaccination series and booster vaccines to adult dogs as recommended by your veterinarian.