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What Is the DA2PP Vaccine for Dogs?

Every pet parent wants to know they are making good decisions for their furry friend’s health and wellbeing. Vaccinations are an important part of that health plan, since they protect against dangerous, sometimes life-threatening, diseases.

Read on to learn about the DA2PP vaccine for dogs, why veterinarians recommend it, and how to decide the safest, most effective vaccine schedule for your furkid…

What Is the DA2PP Vaccine?

The DA2PP vaccine is one of the most common vaccinations given to pet dogs. In fact, it’s one of the first and most important vaccines that puppies receive.

Like other vaccines, the DA2PP vaccine for dogs works by exposing a dog’s body to a small amount of weakened or inactivated pathogens. This allows the dog’s immune system to safely recognize and respond to those pathogens, training it to effectively fight a real infection.

Along with the rabies vaccine, DA2PP is classified as a “core” vaccine according to the American Animal Hospital Association’s (AAHA) 2022 Canine Vaccination Guidelines. This means it’s recommended for ALL dogs, other than rare exceptions where there’s a medical reason to not vaccinate. This recommendation is based on a combination of the vaccine’s effectiveness against several serious, contagious diseases and its overall safety when administered to dogs.

You might notice the vaccine is sometimes called “DHPP,” which is the same thing. Some people also give it names like “distemper combination vaccine” because it’s easier to remember. And sometimes, it’s combined with additional vaccinations—such as with DHLPP, where the “L” stands for Leptospirosis.

What Does the DA2PP Vaccine Cover?

The letters in the DA2PP abbreviation each stand for specific viruses that dogs can catch, including…

Distemper Virus

Canine distemper virus causes severe disease that affects a dog’s central nervous system, respiratory system, and gastrointestinal (stomach/intestines) system. Symptoms may include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, twitching, seizures, and thickening of the nose and paw pads. 

There’s no specific cure, just supportive care. Many dogs require hospitalization. Unfortunately, the virus is often fatal even with veterinary care, especially in puppies and younger dogs. Seizures and muscle twitches may persist after a dog has recovered.

Canine Adenovirus Type 1 and 2

Canine adenovirus type 1 can cause infectious canine hepatitis (the “H” in DHPP, another name for DA2PP), a type of liver disease. Symptoms commonly include fever, lethargy, inappetence, a painful abdomen, or jaundice. It can be fatal. Many dogs recover but suffer damage to their eyes (inflammation and swelling known as “blue eye”) after the infection. Like distemper, there’s no specific cure, just supportive care.

Canine adenovirus type 2 is a respiratory disease, which may contribute to kennel cough and cause coughing, a sore throat, nasal discharge, and a fever. Thankfully, most dogs recover. But complications (such as pneumonia) are possible with any respiratory infection. 


Parvovirus is one of the scariest diseases a dog can catch. Unfortunately, it’s also extremely common. Young puppies are especially susceptible. But even adults can be affected—especially if they’re not fully vaccinated and boostered. 

This virus primarily affects the digestive system, causing diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and severe dehydration. Diarrhea is often bloody and very foul smelling. Prompt intensive care and hospitalization are needed to help a puppy get better. Sadly, even with the best of care, a pup might still pass away. 

Parainfluenza Virus

Canine parainfluenza virus is a highly contagious respiratory virus, which may contribute to kennel cough and cause typical respiratory symptoms like coughing, nasal discharge, and a fever. Although most dogs recover, complications (including pneumonia) are possible with any respiratory infection. 

If you suspect your puppy might be ill, contact a veterinarian’s office right away for advice or schedule an urgent care visit.

DA2PP Vaccine for Puppies

Puppyhood is a critical time for vaccinations. Because a puppy’s immune system is still developing, they are more at risk for catching infectious diseases and suffering serious complications.

Vaccines help get the immune system up to par as quickly as possible. A typical vaccination schedule starts at 6-8 weeks of age with the first shot. Then, boosters are repeated every 3-4 weeks until a puppy is 16 weeks of age. Most puppies have a total of three vaccination visits, but some need a little more depending on their specific schedule and when they start.

Don’t skip boosters! They are essential to making sure a puppy gets full protection from these dangerous viruses.

So, how many DA2PP vaccines do puppies need before they can be around other dogs?

Always follow your veterinarian’s advice for your individual puppy. But speaking generally, puppies should avoid situations and places that carry a high risk of infection (dog parks, areas frequented by other dogs, being around dogs who aren’t vaccinated or have an unknown vaccine status, etc.) until 2 weeks after their final booster shot

Since socialization is important, your vet might give the okay to attend a puppy class after their second booster (which is typically done around 12 weeks of age), assuming the class requires all puppy participants to be vaccinated.

How Often Do Adult Dogs Need the DA2PP Vaccine?

The next booster should be done one year after puppy shots. After that, many dogs are okay to receive DA2PP every three years.

If an adult dog or older puppy of unknown vaccination status is adopted, your veterinarian might recommend giving them one DA2PP shot, then administering a booster in 3-4 weeks to ensure they are fully protected—then resuming a normal 1-3 year booster schedule after that. Even if they’ve previously received vaccinations, an extra injection is unlikely to hurt, whereas giving too few vaccines could put the dog at risk of infection.

How Much Does the DA2PP Vaccine Cost?

This varies depending on your local area, but fortunately, this vaccination is typically very affordable. 

Plus, keeping your dog vaccinated could save you a lot of money in the long run. Serious diseases like parvovirus might cost thousands of dollars to treat—not to mention the emotional cost of seeing your beloved furkid suffer or possibly lose their life. 

So, the DA2PP vaccine is a smart and affordable investment in keeping your canine companion safe and happy.

Potential Risks and Side Effects

Any vaccine or medication can have side effects. Fortunately, the risks of serious side effects are low. Most side effects only involve mild, temporary discomfort such as soreness, mild swelling at the injection site, tiredness, mild stomach upset, or a mild fever. If any of these symptoms occur, they usually last just a few hours to a few days.

Although rare, a serious vaccine reaction or anaphylactic shock requires immediate veterinary care. Symptoms to watch for include severe vomiting or diarrhea, hives, facial swelling, breathing trouble, or collapse. Again, this is rare and most dogs do just fine with their vaccines.

If you have any concerns or questions about your dog’s vaccines, give us a call or schedule an appointment with one of our caring veterinarians. We can help get your pup up to date, so they’re protected as they venture out to explore the world and enjoy life!


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