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DHPPC: Dog Parvo & Distemper


Canine distemper is transmitted by contact with the virus. The virus can live in the environment, so most puppies are exposed to canine distemper at some point in their lives, but only some actually become sick.  Unvaccinated puppies are more at risk than vaccinated ones regardless of their general health.

Signs of Distemper

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Thick discharge from eyes and/or nose
  • Coughing
  • Muscle twitches of the facial muscles
  • Seizures


Canine hepatitis is highly contagious between dogs and puppies, but is not transmissible to humans.  There are two types of hepatitis in dogs, one affects the liver, kidneys, and the linings of blood vessels; the other causes respiratory disease.  The disease is passed through contact with an actively sick dog, or their urine, stool or saliva.

Signs of Hepatitis

  • Fever
  • Bloody diarrhea and vomit
  • Coughing
  • Yellow discoloration of the eyes, skin and mucus membranes
  • Sudden death


Parainfluenza is one of the agents responsible for some forms of “kennel cough”.  “Kennel cough” is a highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs and puppies.  Several viruses can cause “kennel cough”, but Parainfluenza and Bordetella are the most common ones.  This respiratory disease is often passed from dog to dog while at a boarding facility, groomer, or any other place they are exposed to other dogs. “Kennel cough” is usually not life threatening but the cough can last for weeks after treatment.

Signs of Parainfluenza

  • Dry, hacking cough
  • Gagging and/or vomiting after cough
  • Nasal congestion


Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that is often deadly, especially in young or debilitated puppies. There are two forms, one that primarily affects the intestinal tract causing diarrhea, and one that causes heart problems.  Parvovirus is transmitted from dog to dog by contact with infected stool.  The virus can also be passed through contact with contaminated bedding, cages, shoes and other objects.

Signs of Parvovirus

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Severe, often bloody diarrhea
  • Death


Canine coronavirus is a virus that affects the intestinal tract of dogs.  Canine coronavirus is a highly contagious virus affecting not only puppies, but older dogs as well.  It causes an upset stomach similar to parvovirus.  The only way to properly diagnose between coronavirus and parvovirus are by stool tests. Coronavirus, unlike parvovirus, is not associated with high death rates. Coronavirus is most commonly transmitted through contact with infected stool.

Signs of Coronavirus

  • Bloody Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Stomach pain
  • Severe, often bloody diarrhea

Your puppy should receive their first DHPPC vaccinations at 6 weeks of age and then boostered every 3-4 weeks until they are 16 weeks old for full immunity.  Your puppy will then be boostered once yearly after that.  Do not take them into environments where they may be exposed to any of these diseases until your puppy has completed their vaccination series.  Avoid places like dog parks, pet stores, grooming facilities, and walks around the block.

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