If you’ve ever wondered what all those funky initials stand for in your dog’s annual “distemper shot,” we’ve got the answer for you.
You may see any of the following combinations:
All of those abbreviations are variants of the distemper-combination vaccine, which may include extra vaccines given according to a pet’s lifestyle.
So what do those letters actually stand for?
D is for Distemper, a highly contagious virus that can cause death in dogs. Distemper affects the respiratory and nervous systems. Signs include coughing, fever, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.
A2 is for Adenovirus type 2 /
H is for Adenovirus type 1 (aka Hepatitis). Adenovirus 2 and Adenovirus 1 are so closely related that a vaccine against one will work against both diseases. Adenovirus 2 is a respiratory illness that causes coughing, retching, and conjunctivitis. Hepatitis affects the liver and leads to fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In some cases, Hepatitis will damage the kidneys, also.
P is for Parainfluenza, a very contagious respiratory disease. Signs include a dry, hacking cough.
P is for Parvovirus, a deadly virus that spreads quickly among dogs. Signs include vomiting, bloody diarrhea, loss of appetite, and lethargy. In some puppies, Parvovirus attacks the heart.
C is for Coronavirus, a severe intestinal disease that often mimics the signs of Parvo and can occur in puppies vaccinated against Parvovirus. Corona also can appear in conjunction with Parvo, worsening the disease symptoms. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, and excessive thirst.
L is for Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection spread by wild animals. Dogs often acquire the disease by drinking contaminated water outdoors. Signs include high fever, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), bloody stools, exhaustion, and hemorrhage. If your pet becomes infected with Leptospirosis, you can get sick from it, too.
Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, recommends that all dogs living in the Hampton Roads region receive their distemper-combo booster, along with the Rabies vaccine. The distemper-combo booster protects dogs against the most common, and deadly, canine diseases.
Is your dog due or past due to receive its booster vaccinations? Contact Us to schedule an appointment with our veterinarian today!
Note: Other vaccines are available to dogs, including Rabies, Bordetella, Canine Influenza, and Lyme Disease. However, those vaccines are given in a separate injection and, for our purposes, are not considered part of the distemper combinations.
Coming up next: Alphabet Soup, Part 2: What’s in your cat’s FVRCP vaccine?