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Ask the Vet: What's The Five in One Vaccine For Dogs?

Ask the Vet: What’s The Five in One Vaccine For Dogs?

The five in one vaccine for dogs is something that you may be offered to give at your vet's office, and it's a good idea to be informed about it ahead of time, so to know exactly what it consists of. As the name implies, the five in one vaccine is a combination vaccine meant to protect your dog from a variety of diseases. What diseases though does the five in one vaccine for dogs exactly cover? Veterinarian Dr. Ivana Crnec shares information about this vaccine so that you can be aware of how it works.

Parvo is part of the five in one vaccine for dogs

What's the five in one vaccine for dogs?

Vaccines for Dogs 

With the constantly increasing popularity of the anti-vax movement, more and more people are triggered to ask the question – why are vaccines necessary for dogs? Well… the simplest answer is vaccines are necessary for the simple fact that they save lives. Vaccines after all, offer powerful and efficient protection against highly contagious and potentially lethal diseases.

How do vaccines work? Vaccines work by familiarizing the organism with potential pathogens. In fact, vaccines contain pathogens but in either small or inactivated forms. Those small or inactivated forms are not enough to cause illness, but are enough to make the organism familiar with the pathogens. Therefore, when faced with the real pathogens, the organism will be able to recognize them and successfully defend itself.

There are different types of vaccines. Vaccines are mainly divided in two main categories: core vaccines, which should be administered to all dogs regardless of age, living area and lifestyle, and non-core vaccines of which their need depends on the dog’s age, living area and lifestyle.

The Five in One Vaccine for Dogs 

Categorized as core vaccine, the five-in-one vaccine is a multivalent vaccine that offers protection against five highly contagious and potentially fatal dog diseases, including:

  • Distemper virus
  • Adenovirus 1 which causes hepatitis
  • Adenovirus 2 which causes kennel cough
  • Parainfluenza which also causes kennel cough
  • Parvovirus

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The five-in-one vaccine is also known by the acronyms DA2PP or DHPP. The letter D stands for Distemper, the letter A, A2 or H stands for the two adenovirus types. The first letter P stands for Parainfluenza and the second letter P stands for Parvovirus.

How is the five-in-one vaccine administered? A puppy should receive its first five-in-one vaccine at 6 weeks old. Then, it needs three more applications with an interval of 3 weeks between each. Simply put, the five-in-one vaccine is administered as a first dose, second dose, third dose and ultimately as a booster dose.

The booster dose should be repeated when the puppy has reached the age of 1 year. Then, depending on the area where you live, the vaccine label and your vet’s recommendation, dogs need booster doses every one to three years.

Generally speaking, combo vaccines, such as the one in five vaccine for dogs, have several advantages over single vaccines. Those advantages include: 1) Receiving only one shot instead of several thus minimizing the level of discomfort associated with vet visits, 2) Saving time (one trip to the vet’s office results in protection for several diseases and 3) Saving money (applying one combo vaccine is cheaper than applying several single vaccines).

Is the five in one vaccine for dogs safe? According to studies and veterinary reports, the five-in-one vaccine is safe for dogs and puppies older than 6 weeks of age. The side-effects associated with this type of dog vaccine are extremely rare. The most commonly reported side-effect is mild and temporary soreness at the site of injection.

Components of the Five in One Vaccine For Dogs

Let's take a closer look now at each of these different components of the five-in-one vaccine for dogs so to get better acquainted with these contagious diseases affecting dogs.

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The Distemper Virus

Distemper is a serious, highly contagious and viral disease. The paramyxovirus that causes this condition is closely related to the virus that causes measles in humans. The virus attacks several body systems which ultimately results in hard to treat, widespread infection. Dogs can become infected through direct contact with infected individuals or objects, through the air and through the placenta.

Infected dogs show symptoms like eye discharge (watery to purulent), loss of appetite, fever, nasal discharge, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing. If the infection spreads to the central nervous system, dogs are likely to develop neurological symptoms like seizures, head tilt, nystagmus, muscle twitching, partial or full paralysis.

Unvaccinated puppies and puppies under the age of 4 months are particularly susceptible to this virus. On the bright side, the distemper virus cannot survive in the environment for long and can easily be destroyed with commonly used disinfectants.

The Adenovirus 1 or Canine Hepatitis

Canine hepatitis is caused by the canine adenovirus type-1 (CAV-1). Dogs can become infected through direct contact with infected individuals or better said through coughing and sneezing. The virus can also be spread through feces and urine.

Infected dogs show signs and symptoms like dry, hacking cough, nasal discharge, high fever and severe lethargy. Dogs that will survive the initial infection are likely to suffer long-term changes to the eyes, liver and kidneys. Sadly, there is not specific therapy – the treatment is purely symptomatic and supportive.

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The Adenovirus 2 or Kennel Cough

Causing a localized respiratory disease, the canine adenovirus type-2 (CAV-2) is one of the potential causes of kennel cough. The virus spreads through air as well as contact with contaminated feces and urine.

Affected dogs show symptoms like: dry and hacking cough, sneezing, retching, fever, nasal discharge, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. The treatment is symptomatic and supportive.

It should be noted that the vaccine against CAV-2 does not offer full protection. However, it does limit the severity of the infection. Therefore, when compared to non-vaccinated dogs, vaccinated dogs experience a milder form of the condition.

The Parainfluenza or Kennel Cough Virus

Canine parainfluenza is one of the most important causes of kennel cough. The virus that causes this condition spreads really rapidly through the air. Its spreading is particularly fast in areas where a large number of dogs are kept together.

Infected dogs show signs and symptoms like intense coughing, sneezing, gagging, nasal discharge, eye discharge, loss of appetite, fever and lethargy.

Luckily, this condition rarely ends fatally. More often than not, with suitable treatment, the signs resolve in few days time.

The Parvo Virus 

The canine parvovirus is a highly-contagious and usually fatal disease. Although all dogs can suffer from this infection, the risk is highest among young and non-vaccinated puppies. Dogs become infected through direct contact with infected individuals as well as contact with contaminated food, toys and objects.

Attacking the gastrointestinal tract, the virus causes signs and symptoms like intense and bloody vomiting, bloody and profuse diarrhea, lethargy, complete appetite loss and severe dehydration. Although symptomatic, the treatment usually requires hospitalization and intensive care. It should be noted that the virus is highly resistant to most known disinfectants and that it can survive in the environment for as long as one year.

About the Author

Dr. Ivana Crnec is a graduate of the University Sv. Kliment Ohridski’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Bitola, Republic of Macedonia.

ivana crnec

She currently practices as a veterinarian in Bitola and is completing her postgraduate studies in the Pathology of Domestic Carnivores at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb, Croatia.

Ivana’s research has been published in international journals, and she regularly attends international veterinary conferences.

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