DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo)
The DHPP vaccination is commonly referred to as a distemper or a distemper-parvo vaccine. It does protect against those two potentially fatal viral infections, but it covers much more. Canine distemper is a contagious viral infection that attacks a dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal, and neurological systems. The parvovirus mainly targets the gastrointestinal tract resulting in vomiting and bloody diarrhea. It also suppresses the patient’s immune system and unfortunately, can even affect the heart. The hepatitis virus most commonly damages the liver, but it can also affect the kidneys, spleen, and/or lungs. The last component of this combination vaccine is the parainfluenza virus. This is a respiratory infection that is spread rapidly between dogs.
This is a core vaccination that is needed by all dogs. Without protection, dogs will die from these viral infections. Puppies can be started on this vaccine by 6 weeks of age. They should then receive a high titer low passage booster every 3-4 weeks until they are approximately 16 weeks old. The use of a high titer low passage DHPP vaccine will assist a puppy’s immune system in developing protection at a younger age than DHPP vaccines which are not high titer low passage. It is critical to vaccinate puppies on the appropriate timetable. Once a properly vaccinated puppy reaches adulthood, it should receive boosters every 1-3 years as determined by a veterinarian. Adult dogs whose vaccine status is unknown (stray, shelter obtained, etc) should receive a series of 2 vaccines, 2-4 weeks apart, to ensure that they are adequately immunized.