Sometimes this particular vaccine is titled DHPPV, DA2PPV or DHPPV-C or some other similar variation. This particular vaccine is commonly referred to as the "Distemper-Parvo" vaccine or the "5-in-one" or "seven-in-one". Although there are some differences between them, you can tell what's in the vaccine based on the letters.
The D in DHPPV stands for Distemper. This airborne disease is actually a virus and attacks the nervous system in dogs causing the dog to have seizures, cough, vomit, and sometimes foam at the mouth. This disease is incredibly contagious and all dogs should be vaccinated with DHPPV as a result. Although secondary infections can be treated, most cases of Distemper are incurable and untreatable. Since this is a neurological disease, all dogs should be vaccinated for Distemper regularly. Puppies should receive a series of DHPPV shots before they are five months of age.
The H in DHPPV stands for Hepatitis also known as canine adenovirus type 2 (therefore when "A2" appears as part of this vaccine abbreviation, it refers to the same disease as the "H"). This disease, like the hepatitis in humans, attacks the liver and is contracted through a healthy dog's exposure to the feces, urine, blood, saliva, and nasal discharge of a dog who has the disease. Dogs are especially susceptible to this disease simply because they use their nose to sniff and evaluate their surroundings. Although hepatitis will correct itself in healthy individuals, it does come with symptoms that need treatment. These symptoms include diarrhea and poor immune response. Puppies and weak dogs are especially at risk.
One P in DHPPV stands for Parainfluenza. This is a respiratory tract infection (upper respiratory infection) in dogs, much like a cough or cold in humans. Some symptoms of it include nasal or eye discharge, coughing, and labored breathing. This is different than "kennel cough" or Bordetella, which is a separate vaccine.
One P in DHPPV is for Parvovirus. This is an incredibly contagious, often deadly virus that lives in soil for up to seven to ten years (depending on the study). Infected individuals shed the virus for up to three weeks and it can take up to ten days to two weeks for an infected animal to begin showing signs or symptoms. If an owner believes his or her animal has been exposed to parvo, the dog should be tested (at a vet's office) and vaccinated if he or she has not yet received the proper doses of the DHPPV vaccine. Parvo is very, very contagious.
Infected animals, usually young dogs and puppies, usually stop eating and drinking, lay around with little energy, and eventually have severe, dark, bloody diarrhea. Although some of these symptoms are the same as hookworm infestations, immediate action is necessary to ensure the dog's survival. There is no cure for parvo. Dogs will die from the dehydration and intestinal trauma, not the virus. Young dogs and puppies sometimes die within days of the beginning of symptoms.
Overnight care and IV fluids are required to keep dogs hydrated and comfortable while the virus runs it's course. This treatment often takes a few days and is very expensive. Owners should keep their puppies away from strange, potentially contaminated soil (like parks, strange yards, and dog parks) until the puppy is fully vaccinated ( "fully vaccinated" means a series of vaccines 2-3 weeks apart from one another while the animal is still young).
The V stands for "Virus". CPV, for example, is simply the term used for Canine Parvovirus and is the abbreviation for a vaccine that only covers Parvo.
The L in DHLPPV stands for Leptospirosis. This disease is spread through urine and dogs contract the disease by licking a contaminated surface. Basically, leptospirosis, or lepto, is common mostly in kennels where strange, unknown, potentially contaminated dogs might urinate. The disease affects the liver and causes yellow eyes, lethargy, and sometimes renal failure. Many veterinarians have ceased giving a leptospirosis vaccine due to low risk under most circumstances.
The C in DHPPV-C stands for Coronavirus. This disease is spread through contaminated feces and causes diarrhea and vomiting in the infected dog. Although this disease is easily treated, it does manifest symptoms within three days of contamination. Because of the high level of exposure, kennel dogs are usually vaccinated for this disease.
DHPPV should be given annually to dogs under five years of age. Puppies should be vaccinated with DHPPV every 2 to 3 weeks until they are four months of age.
Consult your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about your animal's vaccinations.