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DHLPP Vaccine for Dogs: Things to Know

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The DHLPP vaccine is considered an essential, core vaccine that all dogs should have throughout their lives to keep them safe, healthy, and well-protected against a number of canine illnesses that can have serious consequences for our beloved companions.

But what exactly is it? What does the DHLPP protect against? And how often should your furry friend be vaccinated?

If you’ve just adopted your first dog or you’re simply unsure how the vaccination process works, these questions -and more besides- probably aren’t too far from your mind.

That’s where we come in.

In this guide, we’ll provide the answers to all of your burning questions about DHLPP, what it is, what it does, and when your dog should get it, all with the aim of empowering you with everything you need to know to keep your dog healthy and happy for years to come.

DHLPP Vaccine for Dogs: 6 Things to Know

DHLPP Vaccine

What is the DHLPP Vaccine?

The DHLPP vaccine for dogs is a USDA-approved vaccine that is generally considered to be one of the most important vaccinations your pooch should have. While it’s not a legal requirement, your veterinarian will highly recommend it, and for a good reason:

It protects dogs against five different viral diseases that can have a devastating impact on your dog’s health. 

These diseases are:

D – Distemper

The DHLPP vaccine is sometimes known as the Distemper vaccine because Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) is one of the main things it treats.

Despite the name, this has nothing to do with temperament and it’s not about calming an aggressive dog. 

Canine Distemper Virus is a common name for a deadly canine disease known as paramyxovirus which can cause respiratory problems, impact their gastrointestinal and nervous systems and cause skin and dental issues too.

Though paramyxovirus is well controlled with vaccination, it can still spread among wild and/or unvaccinated dogs and it sadly proves to be fatal for those who catch it.

H – Hepatitis

Sometimes, you may see this vaccine referred to as Da2PP, with the “a2” standing for adenovirus-2 antigen which protects against Hepatitis. 

The Hepatitis itself is caused by what’s known as canine adenovirus type 1 (CAV-1), but including this in a vaccination typically causes side effects, so adenovirus-2 is used instead as it’s much safer and still effective. 

Without this part of the vaccine, dogs can suffer from a type of kennel cough that you may struggle to treat with traditional pet cough treatments

They can also suffer from fevers and a form of liver disease that can prove to be fatal. 

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L – Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a bacteria that can be spread through your dog’s urine causing kidney and liver damage. 

Not all veterinarians include Leptospirosis as part of this group of vaccines, which is why you sometimes see it referred to simply as DHPP. The reasons for this include:

Leptospirosis isn’t as common as some of the other diseases. It rarely affects indoor dogs and in some areas, there are only a tiny number -if any- recorded cases, so the vaccine may not be needed.

The Leptospirosis vaccine doesn’t give the same length of immunity as the others, so if it is needed at all, it should be given more regularly. This means that giving it separately is usually a better option.

Likewise, there is a greater risk of vaccine reactions when it is given in a combination vaccine-like DHLPP, so more vets prefer to give it as a separate vaccine.

P – Parainfluenza

Canine parainfluenza virus may not be as fatal as some of the other viruses that DHLPP protects against and can usually be treated with a good quality treatment formula, but it is highly contagious and can leave our beloved furry friends feeling very much worse for wear, so it’s still useful to get them vaccinated against it.

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P – Parvovirus

Parvovirus usually occurs in puppies, though it can still affect grown-up dogs too. It mainly goes after the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in diarrhea, dehydration, and vomiting. It can also compromise their immune system, leaving them more vulnerable to other illnesses.

How Does the DHPP Vaccine for Dogs Work?

The DHLPP vaccine contains small amounts of CDV, CAV-2, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus viruses, all of which have been sufficiently modified to ensure that they can’t cause an infection or make your dog ill, but can activate an immune response. 

When your dog is vaccinated, their immune system comes to recognize the viruses so that it can attack them if they ever enter via a natural infection.

How Often Does My Dog Need DHLPP Vaccine?

The DHLPP vaccine schedule is as follows:

First shot

The vaccine should be given to new puppies on their first visit to the vets at around 6-8 weeks old.

Additional shots

After that, your pup should continue to receive vaccine shots every three weeks until they are 16-20 weeks old.

DHLPP Booster Shot

They should then receive their first booster shot 12 months after their 16-20 week shot.

Additional booster shots

Finally, your dog should continue to receive booster shots every three years.

What are the Side Effects of the DHLPP Vaccine?

The vaccination can make your dog tired for a while as the immune response is triggered in their system.

Sometimes, they can also suffer from pain at the site of the injection, much like you or I might.

Some very rare side effects of the DHLPP vaccination include:

  • Itching
  • Facial swelling
  • Vomiting
  • Hives
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness and collapsing.

If your dog demonstrates any of these symptoms, it is likely a sign of an allergic reaction and you should call your veterinarian for help and advice.

Are There Any DHLPP Vaccine Medication Reactions Dog Owners Should Know About?

There are no medications that the DHLPP vaccine is known to have an adverse reaction to, though most experts recommend avoiding steroids such as prednisone as these inhibit the immune system and can prevent the vaccine from triggering an effective immune response.

How Much Does the DHLPP Vaccine Cost?

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry too much about high vet bills when it comes to the DHLPP vaccine as it typically costs around $20 – $30 per shot. While this can add up considering they’ll need shots every few weeks as a puppy, some vets will offer packages to make the costs more affordable.

Besides, isn’t it a small price to pay to keep your pooch safe and healthy?

DHLPP Vaccine for Dogs: The Final Word 

So, there you have it. By now, you’ve learned everything you could need to know about the what, when, and why of ensuring your dog receives the proper DHLPP vaccine.

Though it isn’t a legal requirement (only the rabies shot is legally required in the US), it is a vitally important core vaccination that is essential to keeping your dog safe from Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus, all of which can severely affect your dog’s health and may even prove to be fatal.

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