When it's time for your puppy's initial shots or your adult pooch's booster shots, one of the vaccines Fido will need is the DHPP. This is a combination of four different vaccines all contained in one shot. DHPP is an abbreviation that stands for distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza and parvovirus. All of these are very serious and possibly fatal diseases that your pup needs protection from because they have no cure.
Purpose of DHPP
The DHPP vaccine, sometimes referred to as the DA2PP vaccine, provides your pup with immunity against four potentially deadly diseases, according to the Koret Shelter Medicine Program. The distemper virus is airborne and affects the lungs, brain and intestines, warns the Humane Society of Real County. This disease causes a respiratory infection, neurological symptoms, behavioral changes and even trouble breathing. Hepatitis is caused by the canine adenovirus type 1, which results in respiratory infections and kidney or liver failure. The canine parainfluenza virus is highly contagious and can lead to infectious bronchitis, respiratory infections and even pneumonia. Parvovirus is a serious viral disease of the intestines. None of these conditions can be cured and all are potentially fatal.
The DHPP vaccine combination is considered part of your pup's core vaccines, meaning it is recommended for all dogs. The American Animal Hospital Association recommends that your puppy receives the DHPP vaccine at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age. After this, your pooch should receive the vaccine at 1 year old and every one to three years after that. During your pup's annual health check with your vet, you can have her administer a titer test to see if your pooch's antibody levels are adequate to protect him from distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza and parvovirus, as recommended by the Family Pet Animal Hospital. If they are, then your vet doesn't need to administer this vaccine for at least another year.
After your vet administers the DHPP vaccine to your pooch via a subcutaneous injection, he may experience some adverse reactions, which are generally mild. Your pup may experience pain, swelling, hair loss or tenderness at the site of the injection, which is usually between the shoulder blades, according to the Koret Shelter Medicine Program. More serious reactions such as fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, trouble breathing or collapse, can also occur in some cases, warns the Ballston Animal Hospital. Very rarely your pup could also experience bone issues, skin infections, injection-site cancers and anaphylactic shock. Discuss such risks with your veterinarian.
Sometimes the DHPP vaccine is combined with one for canine leptospirosis, and this is referred to as the DHLPP vaccine. This combination is not recommended for puppies under 12 weeks of age or dogs with an allergy to the leptospirosis vaccine, according to the Ballston Animal Hospital. The rabies vaccine is required by law in most municipalities and is also given at 12 weeks of age. Your vet may also recommend giving your pooch vaccinations for coronavirus and Lyme disease if these are endemic to the area in which you live, or one where you plan to travel with your pup. She may also give your puppy or adult dog the bordatella vaccine if you plan to board your pup.
- Nutmeg Spay/Neuter Clinic: DHPP Vaccine
- Grady Veterinary Hospital: Pet Vaccinations
- The Humane Society of Real County: Vaccine Information for Canines
- Family Pet Animal Hospital: Leptospirosis and DHPP Vaccinations
- American Animal Hospital Association: 2011 AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines [PDF]
- Mar Vista Animal Medical Center: Canine Leptospirosis
- The Whole Dog Journal: Over-Vaccination—Dog Owners Beware
- Bellwether: Vaccination Guidelines for Dogs and Cats [PDF]
- Koret Shelter Medicine Program: Vaccination
- Ballston Animal Hospital: Preventive Health Care Vaccinations for Your Pet
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.