The Canine Distemper Vaccine

When you bring your new puppy or dog in to update their vaccines, you have heard us ask if you want to update their Canine Distemper (DAPP) vaccine. Our Distemper vaccine also vaccinates against Adenovirus, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus, which are all serious diseases that can be prevented with

The D in the DAPP vaccine stands for “Distemper.” Canine distemper is a serious, highly contagious, and often fatal viral disease that is spread through the air, through sharing of food and water bowls, and through the placenta from mom to offspring. The virus attacks the respiratory system, gastrointestinal system, and central nervous system of dogs, ferrets, and wildlife such as: raccoons, fox, coyotes, and skunks. All dogs are at risk for contracting the disease, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies less than four months of age are at an increased risk. There is no cure for distemper and the damage from it can cause permanent disability, so it is crucial to prevent it with the vaccine.

The A stands for “Adenovirus.” The vaccine protects against two types of adenovirus that cause hepatitis and respiratory disease. Infectious Canine Hepatitis targets the liver, lining of blood vessels, lungs, kidneys, and spleen. It often causes blood clotting abnormalities, which leads to spontaneous bleeding that is hard to control. The virus is spread through contaminated feces, urine, and saliva for up to six months after recovery. Young puppies have the highest mortality rate and survivors typically have permanent kidney damage and corneal clouding or “blue eye”.

The first P stands for “Parainfluenza virus.” The canine parainfluenza virus is a highly contagious respiratory virus and is one of the most common causes of “kennel cough.” It is transmitted through the air and remains in the infected animal for two weeks after being infected. Dogs that are around other dogs at dog parks, grooming facilities, doggie daycares, etc. have a higher risk of contracting the virus.

The last P stands for “Parvovirus.” Parvovirus or “parvo” is a common, highly contagious and serious virus of the gastrointestinal tract of dogs. The virus infects and destroys rapidly growing cells of the intestines causing hemorrhagic diarrhea, dehydration, and even death. Majority of the dogs with parvo require hospitalization with intense treatment. The virus is shed through the feces of infected dogs for up to ten days after clinical recovery. Parvovirus can live in the soil for many years, so a dog (especially puppy that hasn’t completed its vaccine series) can be exposed even if there are no other dogs around.

Though we frequently refer to the DAPP vaccine as the “distemper vaccine,” you can see that it helps protect your dog against many other viral diseases as well! This is a vaccine that, once the initial series has been followed, may be boostered every 3 years, so it is a good idea to follow veterinarian recommendations, especially early in life!