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Vaccine details

  • Type: Core
  • USDA approved? Yes
  • Life stage: All

All dogs, from puppyhood through adulthood, should be vaccinated appropriately with the DHPP vaccine. The DHPP vaccine protects against a number of severe viral illnesses in dogs, including distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus. Some of these diseases were associated with significant outbreaks and mortality in dogs prior to the development of vaccines. 

The DHPP vaccine for dogs is a core vaccination, which means that it is recommended for every dog, regardless of lifestyle. 

What is the DHPP Vaccine?

The DHPP vaccine, which may also be referred to as the DAPP vaccine or DA2PP vaccine, protects dogs against four unique illnesses. These illnesses include: 

Distemper virus: Canine distemper is a virus that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous system of dogs. It is typically spread via coughing and sneezing, although spread can also occur in a number of other ways. There is no cure for distemper virus and infection is often fatal. In dogs that survive, neurologic damage may be permanent. 

Hepatitis/Adenovirus-2: Canine adenovirus 2 (CAV-2) is included in vaccines for two separate reasons. First, CAV-2 can cause kennel cough in dogs. Second, and more importantly, CAV-2 is closely related to CAV-1, a virus that causes a potentially-fatal liver infection in dogs. Vaccinating against CAV-2 protects dogs against CAV-1 and infectious canine hepatitis. (Some DHPP vaccines also provide direct immunity against CAV-1). 

Parvovirus: Canine parvovirus is most common in puppies, but it can affect dogs of any age. Parvovirus attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing vomiting and diarrhea that can be fatal, even with aggressive treatment. Additionally, parvovirus suppresses the immune system and makes infected dogs more susceptible to a number of other infectious diseases. Most infected dogs will die without treatment. With aggressive treatment, many (but not all) dogs survive infection. 

Parainfluenza virus: Canine parainfluenza virus is a highly contagious virus that causes coughing and other respiratory signs. 

The individual vaccine components included in the DHPP vaccine were each developed uniquely, but they have since been combined into a single injection for ease of administration. 

The DHPP vaccine for dogs is carried by nearly every veterinary practice in the United States. It is regarded as a core vaccine, which means that it is recommended for all dogs, regardless of their risk or lifestyle. While the DHPP vaccine is strongly recommended for all dogs, it is not legally required. 

How Does the DHPP Vaccine for Dogs Work?

Veterinarian vaccinating dog

The DHPP vaccine contains small amounts of modified distemper virus, CAV-2, parvovirus, and parainfluenza virus. These viruses have all been modified in such a way that they cannot trigger an actual infection, but they can still trigger an immune response. 

When your dog is vaccinated against these viruses, your dog’s immune system learns to recognize these viruses. This primes the immune system to attack these viruses if they enter the body via a natural infection. 

DHPP Vaccination Schedule for Dogs

Dogs should receive their first DHPP vaccines as puppies. This vaccine is typically started at the first puppy visit, as early as 6 weeks of age. It is then repeated every 3-4 weeks until the puppy is 16-20 weeks old (depending on breed and risk). 

It’s important to ensure that your puppy receives the entire recommended vaccine series, because stopping the vaccine series too early could put your dog at risk of disease. 

Once the initial “puppy shots” are completed, your dog is protected against all four viruses for one full year. A DHPP booster should be administered one year after the last vaccine in the puppy series. After the one-year booster, a booster vaccination should be administered every three years. 

First DHPP shotAdditional DHPP shotsFirst DHPP booster shotAdditional DHPP booster shots
In puppies, as early as 6 weeks oldEvery 3-4 weeks until puppies are 16-20 weeks oldOne year after final DHPP puppy shotEvery 3 years following the first booster

Side Effects of the DHPP Vaccine for Dogs

Jack Russell dog

Vaccines trigger an immune response in dogs, which is how they provide immunity. Therefore, you may see clinical signs that your dog’s immune system is working. Mild lethargy and soreness at the site of the vaccine are relatively common side effects after vaccination, similar to how you might feel after a vaccine. 

In rare cases, a more severe allergic vaccine reaction may occur. These reactions may be accompanied by hives, facial swelling, itching, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, or collapse. If you see signs of an allergic reaction, contact your veterinarian immediately. 

Common side effects of vaccines: 

  • Lethargy
  • Pain at the injection site 

Call your veterinarian if you observe any of the following: 

  • Hives
  • Facial swelling
  • Itching
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Collapse

DHPP Vaccine Medication Reactions

While there are no medications that react directly with the DHPP vaccine, corticosteroids (such as prednisone) should be avoided at the time of vaccination, if possible. Steroids suppress the immune system’s response and may decrease the likelihood that your dog develops an appropriate immune response to vaccination. 

Additionally, your veterinarian may recommend separating the DHPP vaccine from other vaccinations. While it is not technically unsafe to administer multiple vaccines at the same time, the administration of multiple vaccines in a single visit is associated with an increased risk of vaccine reactions, especially in small dogs. 

Manufacturers of the DHPP Vaccine for Dogs

There are several different manufacturers that produce DHPP vaccines. Available vaccines include:

DHPP Vaccine ManufacturerVaccine Name
Merck Animal HealthNobivac Canine DAPPv
ZoetisVanguard Plus 5
ElancoDuramune Max 5; ULTRA Duramune

The ULTRA Duramune vaccine from Elanco is unique in that it is only half the volume of other DHPP vaccines. This is intended to minimize discomfort and the risk of vaccine reactions. With the exception of this vaccine, the other three vaccines are very similar.  

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Cost of the DHPP Vaccine for Dogs

dog at veterinarian office

The cost of the DHPP varies, based upon your area’s cost of living and which vaccine your veterinarian is using. In general, you can expect to pay $20-$40 for the DHPP vaccine. The vaccine is typically administered in conjunction with a physical exam, which typically costs approximately $50-$80. 

If you have pet health insurance such as MetLife Pet Insurance, your plan may help cover some vaccine costs. Look for plans with preventative care or wellness package add-ons that cover expenses associated with keeping your pet healthy, such as vaccines, among many other healthcare perks.

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    Does Your Dog Need the DHPP Vaccine?

    Distemper virus, CAV-2, parvovirus, and parainfluenza are severe health threats. Distemper virus and parvovirus, in particular, are highly contagious and can be fatal. The DHPP vaccine is regarded as a core vaccine. This means that all dogs should receive this vaccine, regardless of their lifestyle or individual risk.

    Some dogs may have severe vaccine reactions to DHPP that are life threatening. In these cases, talk with your veterinarian about your options.