This article was updated on September 5th, 2023
Few things that your do for your new puppy are more important than getting them properly vaccinated. It’s one of the best and easiest ways to prevent many unwanted diseases and to start them off right for lifelong health. Veterinarians perform vaccinations everyday, with the DHPP vaccine being one of the most common. Here’s why.
What is the 5-in-1 DHPP vaccine?
The 5-in-1 DHPP vaccine for dogs is a combination vaccine that protects against five diseases: Distemper, Adenovirus (Hepatitis), Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus. Hence, the name DHPP.
Each of these diseases is highly contagious and potentially fatal, especially in puppies and dogs with weakened immune systems. The DHPP vaccine is a core vaccine that is recommended for all dogs, regardless of their lifestyle or environment.
What is the schedule for DHPP vaccination in puppies and dogs?
DHPP vaccines are given to puppies and dogs on a schedule, meaning there is a set time interval between vaccines, and even a maximum time in between for ideal protection.
For puppies, the schedule is tighter than it would be for adult dogs:
1) First DHPP vaccination: This is usually given at 6 to 8 weeks of age. Sometimes the first vaccine will be given sooner, but the vaccine can interfere with antibodies passed to the puppy from their mother so this isn’t usually recommended.
2) Second DHPP vaccination: The second vaccine is given 3 to 4 weeks after the first vaccine, this usually falls around 10 to 12 weeks of age.
3) Third DHPP vaccination: The third vaccine is given another 3 to 4 weeks after the second vaccine, at approximately 14 to 16 weeks of age.
4) Fourth DHPP vaccination (optional): Depending on how early the series was started and what the puppy’s risk factors could be, a fourth vaccine may be given 3 to 4 weeks after the third vaccine, at 18 to 20 weeks of age.
Adult dogs don’t have quite the same vaccine schedule. Fortunately, since their immune systems are better developed, it takes fewer vaccines to ensure they’re protected. Adult dogs whose vaccine history is unknown typically receive 1 initial vaccine and a booster 3 to 4 weeks later unless your veterinarian feels your dog’s needs differ.
Once puppies have grown into young adults, and once adult dogs have had their boosters, the routine vaccine schedule is much more spread out. A year after the first series, an annual booster is given. Then, depending on the vaccine products your veterinarian carries and your dog’s lifestye, routine boosters are given through adulthood every 1 to 3 years for the rest of their life.
Are there risks associated with the DHPP vaccine?
The DHPP vaccine has a good safety record, and it is considered a safe and effective vaccine for dogs. The vaccine has been extensively tested in clinical trials and has been used for decades to protect dogs against the serious infectious diseases that it targets.
The vast majority of dogs who receive the DHPP vaccine do not experience any adverse reactions, and the mild reactions that may occur, such as soreness or swelling at the injection site, are usually short-lived and resolve on their own. More serious reactions are very rare.
Possible side effects include:
- Mild reactions: Soreness or swelling at the injection site, fever, lethargy, and decreased appetite. These reactions usually resolve within a few days without any treatment.
- Allergic reactions: In rare cases, dogs may experience an allergic reaction to a component of the vaccine. These reactions are typically immediate and require emergency veterinary care.
- Vaccine-associated adverse events: This type of vaccine side effect is even more rare. Dogs may develop more serious vaccine-associated adverse events, such as an autoimmune reaction or a neurological disorder. However, these events are extremely rare and often difficult to link directly to the vaccine.
Is there a better alternative for the DHPP vaccine?
While there are different types of DHPP Vaccines available, they are all fairly similar. There is no safe or proven alternative to vaccination to protect dogs from these diseases, though if your dog has a mitigating factor like a history of vaccine reactions, your dog’s veterinarian may recommend monitoring individual titers for Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus instead. If this is the case, they may also recommend taking measures to prevent exposure to these diseases like avoiding strange dogs, known unvaccinated dogs, or public spaces.
Why you need to vaccinate your puppies and dogs
Vaccinating your dog with the DHPP vaccine is a great way to protect your beloved pet against serious and potentially deadly diseases.
Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus are all highly infectious, and serious diseases. They can be transmitted directly by infected animals or even contaminated objects or places, like food or water bowls, dog parks, and yards. This means any dog can be at risk for exposure in a variety of settings, which is why protection starting from a young age is of vital importance.
These diseases can cause a wide range of symptoms, including fever, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, neurological problems, and can even be deadly; especially in animals with weak immune systems, including puppies.
Vaccinating with the DHPP vaccine isn’t just about your dog. It’s about protecting other dogs yours may come into contact with, especially those that cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the recommended age for the first DHPP vaccination?
The first DHPP vaccine should be given to puppies at around 6 to 8 weeks of age, depending on the individual veterinarian’s recommendation and the puppy’s health status. Puppies receive some immunity from their mother in the first few weeks of life, but this immunity gradually decreases over time, leaving them vulnerable to infectious diseases..
How often should DHPP boosters be given?
The DHPP vaccine is typically given as a series of shots spaced 3-4 weeks apart. The number of boosters can vary depending on the dog’s age. Adults might only receive 1 booster after the initial vaccine, while puppies will assuredly receive at least 3 iterations of the vaccine in a series.
Can my puppy/dog still get infected after being vaccinated with DHPP?
Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent contagious diseases like Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus. While the DHPP vaccine is highly effective at preventing infection from the diseases it targets, there is still a small risk that a vaccinated puppy or dog may become infected.
It’s important to note that even in the very rare instance that vaccinated dog does become infected, the vaccine can still reduce the severity of illness, improving recovery rates as compared to unvaccinated dogs.
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