The DA2PP vaccine is a combination vaccine, meaning it contains vaccines for multiple diseases in one injection. These are Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus and Parainfluenza. It is given in a series of 3-4 injections to puppies starting at 6-8 weeks of age, and then a booster is given 1 year after the final puppy shot. After that this combo shot is administered every 3 years to most dogs.
DA2PP (or DHPP) is considered a core vaccine, meaning that it should be given to all dogs no matter what their lifestyle is. The following should serve to better describe the diseases covered by this vaccine and explain why your New York City pooch could be at risk.
Distemper - Canine distemper is a virus that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, urogenital and nervous systems of dogs and other animals. Early symptoms of distemper include ocular and nasal discharge, fever, poor appetite, sneezing and coughing. Affected dogs become progressively worse as the virus spreads to other body systems. Later signs of the disease include vomiting, diarrhea, callusing of the footpads, tremors (typically of the jaw), weakness and eventually seizures. There are no specific medications to cure distemper, so the only treatment available is supportive care. Many young or otherwise immune-compromised dogs will die of this disease, while others can survive, but may cause permanent neurologic damage. Canine distemper is spread mostly via respiratory secretions, but can also be spread via fresh urine or blood. Dogs become infected via direct or indirect (i.e. bedding, food bowls) contact with an infected animal. Young puppies and other unvaccinated dogs are the most susceptible. Other animals that can carry the canine distemper virus include foxes, skunks, raccoons and ferrets. Unlike Rabies, Distemper cannot be transmitted to humans or cats.
Parvovirus - Of all the viruses we worry about with our dogs the Parvovirus probably has the biggest notoriety. Parvovirus, commonly referred to as “parvo”, is a virus that causes severe gastrointestinal disease, often in young puppies who are unvaccinated or who have not received their entire vaccination series. Parvo is spread via direct or indirect exposure to feces from an infected dog and is very contagious. The virus itself is very resistant to changes in temperature and humidity and can persist in the environment for long periods of time even up to months at a time. It can also persist on inanimate objects such as food bowls, carriers/kennels, clothing, and floors. Symptoms include vomiting, severe diarrhea (often with blood), fever, lethargy and loss of appetite. The disease is concerning because it causes rapid dehydration and death can occur within days of infection. Dogs who have Parvo are treated with aggressive supportive care to combat dehydration and often require intensive hospitalization and even plasma transfusions. Because the virus is so contagious and difficult to combat in the environment, Parvo positive dogs are usually isolated in the hospital. The best way to prevent your pup from Parvovirus is to have her vaccinated and avoid public areas with unvaccinated puppies or unknown dogs until she has completed her full puppy vaccine series. Parvo is not contagious to humans or cats.
Adenovirus - There are two types of canine adenovirus: type 1 (CAV-1) and type 2 (CAV-2). CAV-1 causes canine infectious hepatitis. Some people even refer to this virus as Hepatitis, hence the “H” in DHPP. CAV-2 is one of the viruses that causes infectious tracheobronchitis (“kennel cough”) in dogs.
Dogs infected with CAV-1 will initially show signs of cough or general malaise. The virus can then affect the eyes, liver and kidneys. Typical symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, a “blue-eye” appearance to the eye (corneal edema), increased thirst and even seizures. The disease is spread via direct or indirect contact with contaminated bodily fluids (saliva, urine, feces, blood, etc.). There is no specific cure for canine infectious hepatitis. Most infected dogs are treated with supportive care and recover. However, some dogs will die from liver disease and secondary bleeding disorders.
Canine adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2) causes classic symptoms of an upper respiratory infection, such as a cough and nasal and ocular discharge. The virus is spread via infected respiratory secretions or via contact with contaminated feces or urine. Dogs from shelters or dogs that spend time in boarding or grooming facilities, daycare and dog parks are at highest risk of infection. Similar to the common cold in our own human population, this upper respiratory infection typically runs its course and resolves without treatment, but is highly contagious. Some dogs can have persistent infections that develop into secondary bacterial infections or even pneumonia. These more severe cases can require treatment with antibiotics or even hospitalization.
Neither CAV-1 or CAV-2 is infectious to humans or cats.
Most DA2PP combo vaccines contain a modified canine adenovirus type 2. However, because the viruses are so similar, vaccination against one type provides protection against the other type also known as cross-reactivity.
Parainfluenza - Parainfluenza is another virus and one of the most common causes of infectious tracheobronchitis, or kennel cough, in dogs. Common symptoms include coughing, ocular and nasal discharge, lethargy and fever. It is spread via respiratory secretions and is most common in dogs that have spent time in a boarding facility, groomer, daycare, shelter or dog park. Like canine adenovirus type 2, this infection is usually self-limiting and doesn’t require specific treatment. However, it can cause pneumonia in some affected dogs. Parainfluezna virus is not contagious to humans or cats.