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DHPP Vaccine for Dogs: What is it and When to Get It

Eskimo dog

Whether you’ve just adopted a dog or have a long-time best friend in your home, understanding vaccinations can sometimes be confusing.

If you get the vaccine when your pet is a puppy, will your dog’s immune system be strong enough to fight diseases in its adult years? Or do you need annual vaccines to avoid severe illness? What if your pet is at an increased risk or has been exposed to infected dogs?

Whether you’re looking for puppy shots or how to keep your adult dog healthy, we’re here to help. And we’re starting by explaining one of the most common vaccines for dogs, DHPP (or DAPP).

DHPP is often referred to as distemper because that is one thing that this vaccine helps prevent. In addition, DHPP prevents parvovirus, parainfluenza, and two types of canine adenovirus (hepatitis).

DHPP Versus DAPP Vaccinations

At Metrovet Clinic, we use the DAPP vaccine for dogs, which is another name for the DHPP vaccination. In the DAPP vaccine, the A represents “adenovirus,” whereas the H in DHPP stands for “hepatitis.”

What Is Distemper?

The canine distemper virus is a highly contagious virus that affects many dogs and other animals like raccoons and ferrets. It spreads from one infected animal to another through airborne exposure (such as a cough or sneeze). It can also spread through a contaminated surface like a toy, with or without direct contact with the infected animal.

Sadly, distemper is an incurable disease and is often fatal, which is why it’s essential to be aware of and understand it.

All diseases can be scary for dog owners, and distemper is no different. This serious disease is multi-systemic, affecting multiple organs, including the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, and central nervous system.

What Are Symptoms Of Distemper In Dogs?

In the beginning, the distemper virus may mimic signs of kennel cough, such as a runny nose and eyes, fatigue, abdominal pain, hacking cough, and other respiratory signs like difficulty breathing. It may appear like your dog has a human cold.

As the disease progresses, more severe symptoms can occur in dogs, including seizures and paralysis. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Many of the dogs (or any infected animal) that recover from the Distemper virus will experience life-long effects.

The good news is that all these symptoms can be eliminated with initial doses of the vaccination for puppies and just one shot annually for adult and older dogs.

Does Your Dog Need the DHPP Vaccine?

American Eskimo dog - dhpp vaccine dogs

The simple answer is yes. An unvaccinated dog is at risk for distemper, which means they’re at risk for a disease that hurts everything from the digestive system to the central nervous systems.

Vaccines are one of the best tools to protect your pet from small dogs to large dogs – puppies to adult dogs.

As pet parents, you want to do what’s best for your dog before they become a sick dog. But how do you know which vaccines to give and when?

Core Vaccines For Dogs

A DHPP vaccine protects your dog from serious diseases, which is why it’s considered one of the core vaccines by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).

A core vaccine is considered vital to your pet’s health based on exposure risk, the severity of the disease, and its transmissibility to the human population. In addition to DHPP vaccines, the canine parvovirus, canine hepatitis, and rabies vaccines are considered essential.

Your veterinarian may recommend other non-core vaccinations depending on your dog’s risk factors and exposure. For example, if your dog goes to a doggie daycare or boarding kennel routinely or is potentially exposed to other dogs (particularly unvaccinated dogs), a Bordetella vaccination may be necessary to help prevent Kennel Cough.

At Metrovet Clinic, we recommend a Rabies Vaccine and DAPP (or DHPP vaccine for dogs), which protects against Canine Distemper, Adenovirus Type 2 (Hepatitis), Parvovirus, and Parainfluenza.

Vaccine Schedule for Puppies

Australian shepherd

Newborn puppies follow a different vaccination schedule than adult dogs.

Puppy shots typically start after a puppy is weaned, usually between six weeks and eight weeks of age. After that, expect to see your veterinarian every two to four weeks until your puppy is approximately fourteen to sixteen weeks old.

Keep in mind that you may be receiving multiple vaccines or a combination vaccine. It’s essential to complete any vaccine plan (including getting the DHPP Booster about a year after the puppy series) and follow any veterinary advice to ensure your pet gets everything they need to keep them protected.

Vaccine Schedule for Adults

Golden retriever

If you have a healthy adult dog, you can expect to see your vet annually for a routine wellness check and to receive any core vaccination (or other vaccinations).

Trips to the vet may be more frequent for dogs with weakened immune systems or those who may have other health needs.

How Does the DHPP Vaccine Work?

Like many vaccines, DHPP contains small, modified amounts of the viruses it protects from. This includes the distemper virus, canine adenovirus, canine parvovirus, and the canine parainfluenza virus.

Because of the modifications to the virus, you don’t have to worry about them triggering infection in the immune system. But in rare cases, they may trigger adverse reactions such as an allergic reaction or some slight soreness near or around the injection site.

At Metrovet, we’re here to help you navigate any side effects that may occur, no matter how infrequent, to ensure you have the best possible pet care.

Benefits of DHPP Vaccine

By now, you likely have a good understanding of the benefits of the DHPP vaccine. Dogs can avoid symptoms from distemper and all of the other viruses the DHPP vaccine protects dogs from.

Below is a quick reminder of what DHPP (or the DAPP vaccine prevents)

Distemper – side effects include cold-like symptoms, from a runny nose or eyes to more severe symptoms, like a hacking cough, difficulty breathing, and even seizures and paralysis.

Canine parainfluenza – this highly contagious disease can cause a low-grade fever, coughing, runny nose, low energy, vomiting, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

Parvovirus – this virus hurts your dog’s gastrointestinal tract and can spread rapidly. Parvovirus attacks quickly lead to symptoms like vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and stomach pain.

Hepatitis – infectious Canine hepatitis typically hurts your dog’s liver, but it can also expand and affect organs like the kidneys and lungs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Want to know more about Distemper and the vaccine for dogs? Keep reading for some of the most commonly asked questions and answers.

Is DHPP Vaccine Required?

Local governments typically do not require the DHPP or DAPP vaccine, as is the case for the Rabies Vaccine. It is considered a core vaccine by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and is something we recommend due to its ability to save your dog from harmful and potentially fatal diseases.

How many rounds is a DHPP shot?

The DHPP is a single shot that is administered in a series for puppies or annually for adult dogs. A three-year option for adult dogs may also be a good option for your pet. Talk to the Metrovet Clinic team to learn more.

How many shots can a dog have?

At Metrovet Clinic, we recommend administering the core vaccines (as outlined by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) at a minimum. Additional vaccines may be recommended based on your dog’s risk factors.

What is the difference between DHPP and DHLPP?

Like the DHPP and the DAPP vaccine, the DHLPP protects your dog from distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza, and two types of canine adenovirus (hepatitis). It also protects from leptospirosis.

Schedule Your Appointment With Metrovet

Whether you have adopted a puppy or need to schedule an annual vaccination visit for your adult dog, our team would be happy to help. Give us a call or click here to set up your appointment.

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