What is a “DHPP” or “Distemper” vaccine?

The distemper vaccine protects against 4 viruses:

  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Parvovirus
  • Parainfluenza


What is Distemper?

There is a common misconception that the distemper vaccine improves your pet’s temperament.  In reality, canine distemper is much more serious than temperament; it is a widespread virus that causes high mortality in dogs.  Vaccination is important because exposure is considered inevitable during a dog’s lifetime.

The canine distemper virus is easily transmitted from dog to dog by:

  • An infected dog’s respiratory secretions (sneezing, coughing).
  • Direct contact with infected bodily fluids (urine, blood, saliva).

The virus infects various tissues in the dog’s body, producing:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Eye and nose discharge
  • Respiratory disease
  • Appetite loss
  • Muscular spasms
  • Paralysis
  • Possible Death

What is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis is an adenovirus that infects the liver, kidneys, spleen, and lungs.  Severe illness with gradual recovery, or death is common.

Hepatitis is transmitted through infected urine and nasal discharge of an infected dog.

Symptoms are typically:

  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Bleeding around the teeth
  • Cloudiness of the eye

What is Parvovirus?

Parvovirus, or “Parvo” is a highly contagious virus that affects the intestinal tract of dogs.  It is highly resistant to disinfectants, and can survive in the environment for months (floors, shoes, food bowls).

Parvo is transmitted by coming in contact with an infected dog’s feces.

General symptoms are:

  • Lethargy
  • Severe vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloody, foul-smelling diarrhea

What is Parainfluenza?

Parainfluenza is a highly contagious respiratory virus.  It is transmitted from the respiratory secretions of an infected dog through the air.

Symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Nasal discharge
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite