When it comes to canine care, there are so many things to stay on top of. Feeding, watering, exercising, socializing, and regular health checkups are all essential components of keeping a dog healthy and happy. Part of a dog's wellness routine also includes vaccinations, which are given at regular intervals over time. Once such vaccine is called the 5-in-1 vaccine, which combats a number of potential infectious diseases. So, what exactly is the 5-in-1 vaccine for dogs, and do dogs need it?
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What is the 5-in-1 vaccine for dogs?
The 5-in-1 vaccine is a core vaccination that treats a number of possible illnesses. The 5-in-1 vaccine is also known as the DA2PP or the DHPP vaccine. This combination vaccine protects dogs against distemper virus, which is very contagious and often fatal when contracted, as well as adenovirus 1 and 2, which can lead to hepatitis and kennel cough, respectively. Additionally, the 5-in-1 vaccine covers parainfluenza, which can also lead to kennel cough and canine parvovirus (parvo), which is incredibly dangerous and even fatal to dogs and is easy to contract.
Why vaccinate your dog?
Vaccines save lives. The way a canine vaccine works is by introducing antigens resembling specific diseases into your dog's immune system. Now that your dog's system has been exposed to this foreign substance, it knows what to look out for, so if and when the real thing comes into contact with your dog, their immune system can recognize it and fight it off before it develops into illness or other issues.
Vaccines are classified into two types: core and noncore vaccinations. Core vaccines are given to fight off diseases that dogs are commonly exposed to, such as parvovirus, distemper, adenovirus-2 (or canine hepatitis), and rabies. Noncore vaccinations aren't always given to all dogs and are recommended depending on specific factors that might expose your dog to certain infectious diseases, like what part of the world you live in or how social your dog is.
Noncore vaccinations protect against bordetella, leptospirosis, Lyme disease, and canine parainfluenza. Often, noncore vaccines are required for dogs who come into contact with other dogs, like before boarding, attending a puppy class, or leaving and entering the country.
Kennel cough confusion
While various viruses and bacteria can cause what is commonly called "kennel cough," bordetella is the bacteria associated with this common upper airway infection. For that reason, the bordetella vaccine is considered the kennel cough vaccine. It's important to note that parainfluenza is another common cause of upper airway infections in dogs. The 5:1 DHPP vaccine covers parainfluenza, thus protecting your dog from contracting kennel cough from that.
Vaccination tips for dogs
To make sure your puppy or dog is healthy and happy, it's not only important to vaccinate but to vaccinate properly. Vaccinations for puppies are given on a schedule that is spaced over their first 5 or 6 months of age. Puppies should begin their first round of core vaccinations between 6 and 8 weeks of age, with additional rounds following at 12 weeks and 16 weeks.
An additional booster shot is sometimes given around 20 weeks old, and elected noncore vaccines are given throughout this schedule. In order to keep your puppy in optimal health, all shots should be given on time over the course of the vaccination schedule.
In addition to vaccinations, there are some measures you can take to keep your dog from contracting infectious diseases. If you have a puppy who is in the months-long vaccination process, you'll want to be careful who they are socializing with and where. Puppies who have received their first set of vaccines are safe to meet and play with other puppies and dogs as long as those canines have been fully vaccinated.
Because some diseases, like parvovirus, can live in the ground for up to a full year, it's best to play it safe and hold off on public spaces, like dog parks and boarding kennels, until after your puppy has undergone their full round of vaccinations. As your dog ages, some vaccinations will need readministering at various intervals, so be sure to keep annual appointments with your veterinarian to keep your canine friend updated on their shots.