Vaccinating your puppy at an early age can help protect them from many potentially life-threatening illnesses. Vets have a list of core vaccines, such as the rabies vaccine, recommended for every puppy. The DAPP (shorthand for “distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus”) is a vaccine that provides protection against many viruses your puppy or adult dog may come into contact with.
Let’s explore what the DAPP dog vaccine protects against, when your dog should get it, and how much it costs.
The DAPP vaccine, also known as the DHPP vaccine, is designed to protect against five highly contagious viruses: distemper, hepatitis, kennel cough, dog flu, and parvovirus. The vaccine teaches your puppy’s immune system to create antibodies for these viruses, so when they come into contact with them later, they’re prepared to fight them off effectively.1
Vets recommend you don’t bring your puppy to dog parks or other public places until they’re fully vaccinated. This way they don’t come into contact with these contagious viruses until their immune systems are prepared to fight back.
Here’s a breakdown of the five viruses the DHPP vaccine protects dogs against and why they’re dangerous.
Distemper affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems. It’s often spread through sneezing or coughing, but can also be transmitted on surfaces. Beginning symptoms of distemper in dogs include nose and eye discharge, coughing, and fever. As it progresses to the nervous system, it can cause twitching, seizures, and partial or complete paralysis. Treatment includes supportive care, but there is no definitive cure. Many cases of distemper lead to irreparably damaged nervous systems and can possibly be fatal.2
Infectious canine hepatitis (caused by canine adenovirus) is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. The virus is transmitted through an infected dog’s urine, nose discharge, or eye discharge. Some dogs develop cloudy eyes or respiratory symptoms similar to kennel cough. In severe cases, dogs may experience jaundice, diarrhea, vomiting, and swelling around their head and neck. There is no specific cure, rather a vet may provide supportive care and try to treat any secondary infections. Severe cases may be fatal.3
The second adenovirus is one of many causes of kennel cough. This respiratory disease can be caused by a handful of viruses, including bordetella bronchiseptica. Kennel cough is generally prevalent in tight spaces with many dogs, hence the name. It’s spread through the air as well as on surfaces. Symptoms include a dry cough, runny nose, and sometimes a low fever. Generally, cases resolve on their own, but if symptoms persist, you may need to take your dog to the veterinarian to rule out other causes.
Dog flu is similar to the human flu and has similar symptoms. Dogs with the flu may sneeze, cough, have a runny nose, a low appetite, and a high fever. While most dogs will kick the flu naturally, some cases may develop pneumonia.
Parvo is a dangerous disease that attacks the gastrointestinal tract of puppies. The virus is usually transmitted through infected poop, but anything can be contaminated. It’s a stubborn virus that can live on surfaces for months and up to a year outdoors. There’s no cure, but your vet will likely recommend antibiotics and supportive care to combat dehydration as the virus runs its course. It should be noted that many cases of parvo could be fatal.
Although the DAPP vaccine is recommended for puppies, unvaccinated adult dogs are also eligible to receive it. It’s more than just a single shot, instead it’s administered as a series of shots throughout your dog’s life. The vaccination schedule looks different for puppies and adult dogs though.4
Puppies should get their first dose when they’re 10 – 12 weeks old, then a dose every 2 – 4 weeks until they reach 16 weeks. Dogs older than 16 weeks old should get two doses a few weeks apart.
All dogs should get a booster dose 1 year after the initial vaccination series, then every 3 years throughout their life.
The DAPP vaccine may have some side effects. However, it’s important for pet parents to know the difference between common side effects and an allergic reaction. If your pet is having an allergic reaction, it may be considered a medical emergency.5
Common side effects may include:5
- Localized swelling at the site of the shot
- Mild fever
- Low appetite for a few days
Signs of an allergic reaction may include:5
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the face or throat
- Vomiting or diarrhea
The DAPP vaccine typically costs between $40 and $100, depending on your location and veterinarian. 1 As a core vaccine, this cost is both necessary and well worth the investment.
Whether your vet calls it the DAPP vaccine or the DHPP vaccine for dogs, it provides the same protection. Prioritize getting your puppy the vaccine when they’re young to help protect them from these potentially fatal diseases.
A dog insurance policy can help cover the related medical costs of injuries and illnesses.6 MetLife Pet Insurance also offers a Wellness Plan add-on that may even cover the DAPP vaccine or help offset the cost.7 Get a free quote today!