What Is The DHPP Vaccine For Dogs?

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Key points

  • DHPP is a combination vaccine that provides dogs with protection against four viral illnesses, namely distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus;
  • DHPP is regarded as a core vaccine, meaning that it is recommended for every pet;
  • Once your dog is 6 weeks old, you can get it vaccinated. A booster dose should be administered every one to three years;

What Is the DHPP Vaccine For Dogs?

DHPP, also known as the DAPP vaccine or DA2PP vaccine, is a combination vaccine for your dog that protects the pet against four severe viral illnesses – distemper, two types of adenovirus, aka hepatitis and kennel cough, parainfluenza, and parvovirus. Since these diseases can be fatal and have no cure, regular vaccination is recommended to reduce your pet’s risk of getting infected. That being said, the vaccine is not mandatory.

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Distemper virus

Canine distemper is a highly contagious viral disease in dogs similar to measles in humans. Your dog can get the virus through direct contact with an infected animal or through indirect contact, e.g., food bowls used by infected animals. Typical symptoms of distemper include high fever, weakness, persistent cough, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Usually, the virus first affects the pet’s tonsils and lymph nodes. As the disease progresses, it attacks the nervous, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems and can even cause seizures and paralysis. Additionally, the balls of the dog’s feet can harden if it’s suffering from this disease. The severity of the illness often depends on the age of the dog. For adult dogs, the death rate is around 50 percent. In puppies, however, the mortality rate is up to 80 percent. Canines that manage to survive the virus usually suffer from permanent brain damage.

Canine Adenovirus

There are two types of canine adenovirus (CAV), namely (CAV-1) and (CAV-2). CAV-1 is also called infectious canine hepatitis. This disease is not contagious for humans. The DHPP vaccine is primarily intended to protect against infectious hepatitis virus caused by CAV-1 which can cause a potentially fatal liver infection in dogs. The virus is spread through animal urine and feces. Dogs who get this disease often suffer from liver, kidney, and eye issues even after getting treatment.

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If an unvaccinated dog is exposed to the virus and cannot fight the disease on its own, it can develop chronic hepatitis. This usually causes eye problems during which the front of the eye becomes inflamed, leading to the well-known hepatitis blue eye. Symptoms of chronic hepatitis can range from loss of appetite and lethargy to bleeding disorders, swollen lymph nodes, etc.

The vaccine also protects against CAV-2, which causes kennel cough, a contagious respiratory disease in dogs. The virus is not as dangerous as CAV-1 but can lead to a dry, hacking cough, high fever, and nasal discharge.


Canine parvovirus is a fast-acting virus with an extremely high death rate.

Canine parvovirus is a very contagious disease that causes damage to the pet’s gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms begin with loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. The dog will also start emitting a strong, distinctive odor, and mucus or blood may appear in its stool.

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Puppies are more likely to be infected with parvovirus, and they have a higher risk of mortality, although the virus can affect dogs of all ages. There is no cure, but early treatment with intravenous fluids increases the chance of survival. Hospitalization and intensive care are often required.

Since the virus is very hardy, it can survive in the environment for up to a year.

Parainfluenza virus

Parainfluenza is a virus that affects the dogs’ respiratory system and is known to cause kennel cough. It can quickly spread in the air, especially in areas where many dogs are kept together. The signs of this infection include cough, nasal congestion and discharge, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

DHPP Vaccination Schedule

DHPP vaccine is administered via a series of injections that starts when your puppy is at least 6 weeks old. Then, the vet will administer the vaccine every 2 to 4 weeks until the pet is 16 weeks old. Unvaccinated dogs older than 16 weeks can still get the vaccine. In this case, the number of initial doses is reduced to one or two.

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After the initial vaccination is completed, your dog will be fully protected for one year. Then, it should receive one booster dose when this year passes. After the first booster, your dog has to get an additional vaccine shot every one to three years. The frequency with which your dog will need to be vaccinated will vary based on its medical history, environment, and lifestyle. If your dog interacts with other dogs regularly, yearly boosters may be necessary. On the other hand, if your dog stays in your backyard and has only occasional contact with other dogs, then booster doses every two to three years may be enough. Your vet will determine what’s appropriate for your pet.

Possible Side Effects Of The DHPP Vaccine

All vaccines have potential side effects, but veterinarians agree that the benefits of vaccines outweigh the risks for most dogs. Most vaccines have self-limiting effects. They can cause lethargy, loss of appetite, mild pain, and lumps at the injection site. These side effects typically occur within a day or two after the shot. However, in very rare cases, your pet may experience a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine. If you observe symptoms such as hives, facial swelling, itching, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, or collapse, call your veterinarian immediately.

Also, vaccines should not be administered if your dog has a fever. In general, sick dogs should not be vaccinated until they have recovered from the disease. Dogs ​​with a history of autoimmune disease are usually not vaccinated to avoid worsening the pet’s pre-existing conditions.

Advantages of DHPP Vaccine for Dogs

Since the DHPP vaccine is considered to be a core vaccine, it is recommended for all dogs, regardless of their individual risks or lifestyles. The vaccine can spare your pal’s life since some of the viruses against which DHPP offers protection are fatal in unvaccinated pets.

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Extensive research has also shown that the vaccine is safe for dogs. In addition, side effects happen only very rarely and are typically mild.

Furthermore, the vaccine has many advantages over single-pathogen shots since your pet will need to receive only one shot per vet visit to be protected against 4 viral illnesses. Thus, it saves you both time and money and simultaneously reduces the pet’s discomfort to a minimum.


Is the DHPP vaccine necessary for dogs?

DHPP vaccine is considered to be a core vaccine, meaning all dogs need to get it no matter what their lifestyle or individual risks are. DHPP provides your dog with protection against severe canine diseases.

How often should dogs get the DHPP vaccine?

Initial vaccination is carried out every 2-4 weeks from the age of 6 weeks to the age of 16 weeks. The first one-dose booster should then be given in a year, after which one dose is administered every three years.

What does DHPP treat?

DHPP protects against four primary canine diseases: distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus.

How much does a DHPP shot cost for a dog?

Of course, the cost of DHPP shots will depend on the local pricing policy in your area and the vaccine’s manufacturer. Generally, each dose will cost you $20-$40. However, the vaccine is typically administered after a physical exam, which costs around $40-$60.