One Shot. Four Viruses. Protect Your Dog With the DAPP Vaccine

New dog owners are often full of questions: Why does my dog chew this? Why did it eat that? One of the most important questions is, “Why does Lucky need all these vaccines?” Simply put, puppies are very vulnerable to diseases. Which is why it is pretty amazing that there is a single shot, called DAPP, that vaccinates against four dangerous diseases.

The DAPP Vaccine Protects Against Four Dangerous Diseases

DAPP stands for Distemper, Adenovirus, Parainfluenza, and Parvo. These are common viruses that affect dogs. They are all also highly contagious. The rest of this blog will go through the four viruses more in depth. I will let you know how dogs catch each virus, what the disease does to the body, common symptoms, treatments, and prognosis.


Canine distemper is one of the most infamous of dog diseases. Dogs can be infected by airborne and droplet exposure. The virus also infects wildlife such as raccoons, skunks and foxes, and those animals can transmit it to your dog.

Once the virus is in the body, it affects the lymphatic, respiratory, gastrointestinal, urogenital, and central nervous systems. Clinical signs associated with distemper include, but are not limited to, fever, discharge from the eyes and nose, anorexia, diarrhea, seizures, and difficulty walking.

Treatment includes hospitalization with isolation, IV fluid therapy, fever control, and any additional symptomatic care needed. It is not uncommon for dogs to develop a secondary bacterial infection. The prognosis is poor to grave. If a dog does survive distemper, they are likely to have life-long neurologic issues. Vaccination is the best option for avoiding all this pain and trauma.

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Canine adenovirus causes infectious canine hepatitis, a dangerous liver condition. It is transmitted by animal-to-animal contact or contact with inanimate objects which are likely to carry infection, such as clothes, utensils, and furniture. Adenovirus is shed in bodily fluids such as saliva, feces and urine. Infection affects not only the liver, but can affect the kidneys, eyes, brain and even clotting.

Clinical signs can include but are not limited to lethargy, fever, vomiting and diarrhea, coughing and other respiratory signs, bloody nose, “blue eye”, yellow color to the skin, and seizures. Treatment includes supportive care to allow the liver time to repair itself. Prognosis is guarded especially when a co-infection is present.


Parvo is another infamous dog disease. In fact, this year VETSS has already seen a case of parvo. Even after aggressive and intensive treatment, the puppy did not survive the infection.

Canine parvovirus can affect dogs at any age but puppies less than 4 months of age are the most susceptible. Dogs are infected by ingestion of the virus which is shed in feces. Parvo is most known for causing issues with the gastrointestinal system but can also affect the heart. Bloody diarrhea is a classic sign of parvo but vomiting, rapid weight loss, and even shock are seen.

Treatments include intensive care with hospitalization with isolation, aggressive IV fluid therapy, and symptomatic care. The prognosis is guarded, because some dogs will survive while others will succumb to parvo even with aggressive treatment.


Canine parainfluenza is a common cause for upper respiratory tract disease in dogs. It is spread by contact with respiratory secretions (snot and mucous). It can cause coughing, sneezing and eye/nasal discharge. Prognosis is usually good as long as the dog doesn’t develop any complicating factors, such as pneumonia. Treatment depends on severity of signs and in most cases signs are mild and usually resolve on their own.

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No dog deserves to suffer from any of the diseases above. And, no dog should. The DAPP vaccine is an important part of dogs’ wellness and prevention visits and can be life-saving. Create a plan with your veterinarian to ensure your dog’s vaccines are up to date.

– Dr. Jenna K. Garza