February 5, 2014

Behind the Acronyms of Dog Vaccines

Author: Celeste Glassman

Behind the Acronyms of Dog Vaccines

DHPP, DHLPP, DA2PP-L, DA2PP-C… What Exactly Is In That Dog Vaccine And What Will It Do For My Pet?

It’s a new year, which means at some point we will receive e-mails or reminder cards in the mail from the vet to schedule our pets’ annual wellness exams and vaccinations. After looking at my own pets’ list of vaccinations, I wanted to know exactly what was being injected into my dogs and why. The most common vaccinations are: rabies, bordetella, distemper, hepatitis/adenovirus, parvovirus, and parainfluenza. Many of these vaccines are identified only by acronyms on paper which can make it difficult to understand, even for our own professional Dog Walkers and Pet Sitters.

Rabies vaccines are clearly identified by name and are required by law. Rabies vaccines are administered in either one-or three-year doses. If your dog receives the rabies vaccine identified as ‘one year’, your dog must be vaccinated annually according to law. Your dogs’ rabies certificate will indicate whether a one- or three-year vaccine was administered. A three-year vaccine will have a higher fee, as will the accompanying tag issued in conjunction with the county. While the actual rabies tag is tied to county, these records will also be required to attain your local dog registration or license. Townships like Elmhurst, Wheaton, Downers Grove, La Grange and Lisle will require rabies documentation prior to giving you their own dog registration tags. This is also true when trying to attain off-leash dog park licenses, such as through the DuPage County Forest Preserve for off-leash parks in Oak Brook, Glendale Heights and Naperville.

Another common vaccination for dogs is the bordetella vaccine. This vaccine helps protect your dog from the highly contagious respiratory disease known as “kennel cough”. Bordetella can be administered subcutaneously, or intranasally. Dogs that spend time at daycares or groomers are often required to have this.

The acronyms, DHPP, DHLPP, DA2PP-L, DA2PP-C, often appear on our dogs’ summary report of vaccines. These acronyms stand for a combination of vaccines that protect against serious viruses. DHPP stands for Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza. DHLPP is the same as DHPP with the additional vaccine for Leptrospirosis. DA2PP-L stands for Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza, and Leptospirosis. DA2PP-C includes the vaccine for Coronavirus.

The above acronyms are combinations that help protect our dogs from serious viruses and infections. The distemper virus affects a dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems. The hepatitis vaccine protects against canine adenovirus-2 and adenovirus-1, often written as A2. Hepatitis affects a dog’s liver, while adenovirus-2 can cause respiratory disease and is an infectious agent that can be associated with kennel cough. The parvovirus vaccine protects against a highly contagious virus that can attack the digestive and immune systems. Parainfluenza is a mild respiratory viral disease that is included in the combination of vaccines. The leptrospirosis vaccine helps protect against a serious bacterial disease that affects the kidneys and liver and can be transmitted to humans. Coronavirus is a viral disease that typically affects the intestinal tract. The rabies vaccine is considered a core vaccine, while some vaccines such as leptospirosis and coronavirus are considered noncore, or optional.

In addition to the vaccines described above, there are others available that might benefit your pet, such as the vaccine against Lyme disease. Now that I have more confidence reading my dogs’ vaccination history, I can ask my vet questions as to which vaccines would benefit my dogs the most and how often they need to administered. I can also ask about titer testing, which is a blood test to determine the levels of antibodies present in the bloodstream, which can be a good gage as to when vaccines need a boost. Take a second look at your dogs’ vaccination history and be sure you understand all that your dog is being protected against.

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