Why DHLPP Vaccines Can Save Your Dog's Life

Posted by Crystal Long
Puppy goes to the vet for shots.

As puppies are especially susceptible to various diseases, the DHLPP vaccine is essential to your new pup's wellbeing. Here's why your dog needs this shot.

With all this vaccine talk for the Coronavirus pandemic going on, we might realize now more than ever about the importance of vaccinations. Like human babies, puppies are especially vulnerable to a number of diseases and viruses that can cause a lot of damage to your beloved fur-baby, some possibly even leading to death.

That's why, as responsible dog owners, we all should know the importance of taking Fido to the vet to get vaccinated with the essential vaccine shots to help protect your furry best friend. One of those vaccinations is the DHLPP vaccine -- here is what you should know about the DHLPP shot.

What is the DHLPP Vaccine?

Puppy goes to the vet for shots.

The DHLPP vaccine, or the DHPP vaccine, is a core vaccine given to both puppies and adult dogs in order to protect them against five (or four in some cases) different canine diseases. A combination vaccine, DHLPP is an acronym that stands for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus -- it should be also made aware that many veterinarians do not include the leptospirosis part in their routine vaccine, resulting in only the DHPP vaccine.

Why Does My Dog Need the DHLPP Vaccine?

While the Bordetella vaccine is considered a non-core vaccine that's given to dogs that frequent other dogs in group social settings, such as a doggie daycare (as Bordetella is the most common bacterial cause for kennel cough), the DHLPP vaccine is indeed a core vaccine, i.e. considered essential for all dogs in the United States, regardless of lifestyle.

Simply put, vaccinating your dog with the DHLPP/DHPP vaccine is an important step in the wellness of Fido and is the best defense and protection against the five following highly contagious viruses for dogs.

Canine Distemper

Dr. Catherine Barnette of Great Pet Care explains that the distemper virus is:

"a virus that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous system of dogs. It is typically spread via coughing and sneezing, although spread can also occur in a number of other ways. There is no cure for distemper virus and infection is often fatal. In dogs that survive, neurologic damage may be permanent."

Other than through the air, Distemper is also spread by indirect contact, such as through shared bedding or dishes. Infected dogs may show symptoms of high fever, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, and other flu-like symptoms with severe neurological symptoms like seizures and paralysis. Newborn puppies and unvaccinated dogs of any age typically have the highest risk of infection.

Canine Hepatitis

Also known as Adenovirus, PetMD tells us about the infectious hepatitis virus,

"It spreads through the urine and feces and can severely damage the liver. Even after the initial infection clears, dogs may suffer long-term, irreversible changes to the liver, kidneys, and eyes."


A bacterial infection that both humans and their pets can get, 'lepto' is transmitted through bodily fluids or through the consumption of contaminated food or water. Infected animals will have symptoms of fever, muscle weakness, vomiting, and possibly kidney or liver failure.

Canine Parainfluenza and Canine Parvovirus

The last two Ps in the combination vaccine stands for parainfluenza and parvovirus. While the parainfluenza virus is not deadly, it is highly contagious -- it will give your dog some symptoms of coughing, sneezing, fever, and nasal discharge. 'Parvo', on the other hand, is a serious and often fatal disease. It causes damage to the gastrointestinal tract, leading to vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and serious weight loss. Plus, the aggressive virus suppresses the immune system, making the dog more vulnerable to other diseases.

The DHLPP vaccine should be administered to puppies starting at six to eight weeks of age, and given as booster shots every three years.

Did your pup take the DHLPP or the DHPP vaccine yet? Let us know on the Wide Open Pets Facebook page!

READ MORE: Dog Congestion: What to Do When Dogs Have Respiratory Issues

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Why DHLPP Vaccines Can Save Your Dog's Life