What is a “DHPP” or “Distemper” vaccine?

The distemper vaccine protects against 4 viruses:

  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Parvovirus
  • Parainfluenza


Celebrate-senior-mickeyWhat is Distemper?

There is a common misconception that the distemper vaccine improves your pet’s temperament.  In reality, canine distemper is much more serious than temperament; it is a widespread virus that causes high mortality in dogs.  Vaccination is important because exposure is considered inevitable during a dog’s lifetime.

The canine distemper virus is easily transmitted from dog to dog by:

  • An infected dog’s respiratory secretions (sneezing, coughing).
  • Direct contact with infected bodily fluids (urine, blood, saliva).

The virus infects various tissues in the dog’s body, producing:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Eye and nose discharge
  • Respiratory disease
  • Appetite loss
  • Muscular spasms
  • Paralysis
  • Possible Death


What is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis is an adenovirus that infects the liver, kidneys, spleen, and lungs.  Severe illness with gradual recovery, or death is common.

Hepatitis is transmitted through infected urine and nasal discharge of an infected dog.

Symptoms are typically:

  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Bleeding around the teeth
  • Cloudiness of the eye

What is Parvovirus?

Parvovirus, or “Parvo” is a highly contagious virus that affects the intestinal tract of dogs.  It is highly resistant to disinfectants, and can survive in the environment for months (floors, shoes, food bowls).

Parvo is transmitted by coming in contact with an infected dog’s feces.

General symptoms are:

  • Lethargy
  • Severe vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloody, foul-smelling diarrhea

What is Parainfluenza?

Parainfluenza is a highly contagious respiratory virus.  It is transmitted from the respiratory secretions of an infected dog through the air.

Symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Nasal discharge
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite








rabies vaccineWhat is Rabies?

Rabies is an acute viral infection that can affect all warm-blooded animals – including dogs and cats.  The disease is almost always caused by the bite of an infected animal that has rabies virus in its saliva.  Younger animals are usually more susceptible to rabies infection.  And it’s always fatal once clinical signs appear.

What if my dog has possibly been exposed?

If your pet has been bitten by or exposed to a wild or potentially rabid animal, talk with your veterinarian right away and report it to local animal control authorities.  Even if your pet has a current vaccination, you should still contact your veterinarian.  Your pet may need to be quarantined for a period of 10 days after the exposure or immediately re-vaccinated.

Signs and Prevention

Once the rabies virus enters the body, it travels along the nerves to the brain.  It can take a matter of days, weeks or months for your pet to show signs of the rabies virus.

  • Infected animals often show anxiety, aggression, restlessness and erratic behavior.
  • They also may develop weakness, poor coordination or tremors.
  • Wild rabid animals commonly lose their fear of humans.
  • Species that are normally nocturnal may be seen wandering about during the day.

Dogs, cats or ferrets that have never been vaccinated and are exposed to a rabid animal may need to be euthanized or placed in strict isolation for six months.  Check with your veterinarian or local public health official for requirements.

Vaccinate Your Pet

Your veterinarian is committed to helping you make the best choices for your pet’s health.  To give your pet the protection it needs, our hospital complies with the law and vaccinates your pet with rabies vaccine.




Jake Man at park

Jake Man

What is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that can be found in most animals, including livestock (cattle, pigs and sheep) and wildlife (deer, raccoons, opossums, skunks, rats and other rodents).  The bacteria are passed via the urine into water sources, where they can reside.

Is this a problem where I live?

Leptospirosis is prevalent in rural, suburban and urbanized areas.  The bacteria can be present in any stagnant surface water, moist soil and recreational water sources such as ponds and lakes.  Additionally, natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes may present and increase risk of exposure to this disease.

Can my dog get lepto?

  • Your dog can become infected with Leptospira by drinking, swimming in or walking through contaminated water.  Bacteria can enter the bloodstream through a cut in the skin or through mucous membranes such as eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Leptospirosis is a contagious disease that can be transmitted from dog to dog.  In urban areas, infected dogs can transmit the disease to otherwise-low-risk dogs.
  • Exposure risk increases during the summer and early  fall months, and other periods of high rainfall.

Can cats catch this disease?

Although cats are potentially at risk for leptospirosis, they appear to have natural resistance.  For this reason, cats are not vaccinated for leptospirosis.

Can people get Leptospirosis?

  • Yes, The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that up to 200 human cases of leptospirosis a year are identified in the United States.
  • While the disease is rarely fatal in humans, it can cause severe illness.
  • You may reduce disease risks by complying with the following preventative measures:
    • Vaccinate your dog and livestock.
    • Avoid water that might be contaminated with the bacteria, especially water that is stagnant.
    • Practice good sanitation, including washing your and your children’s hands – especially when handling anything that might have your dog’s urine on it.
    • If your occupation or lifestyle involves routine exposure to wildlife or standing water, wear protective clothing to avoid exposure.

What are the signs of Leptospirosis in Dogs?

Look for the following signs that could indicate your dog has been infected with Leptospira:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Jaundice, marked by a yellow cast in the gums of the mouth and whites of the eyes.

In most severe cases, the disease can lead to kidney failure or liver failure and may be fatal.

How is Leptospirosis diagnosed and treated?

  • Your veterinarian is the best person to diagnose and treat leptospirosis because leptospirosis can look like many other diseases.  It is a challenge to diagnose quickly and may require numerous blood and urine tests.  The diagnostic process can be frustrating and costly.
  • To effectively treat leptospirosis, your veterinarian may recommend a combination of intravenous fluids and antibiotics, as well as other aggressive therapies.

Maggie and JakeHow can I protect my dog from Leptospirosis?

  • Remember … Protection = Prevention!  To help protect your dog from this potentially fatal disease, vaccination is key.  By vaccinating your dog before exposure to the disease, you may avoid the emotional and financial trauma of dealing with this disease.
  • Vaccines are affordable, convenient and safe.  Talk to your veterinarian about which vaccine is best and how to incorporate it into your dog’s routine vaccination program.

Do vaccines prevent the most common canine leptospira?

  • The most complete leptospirosis protection is with vaccines containing the four most common strains of Letospira bacteria diagnosed today.
  • Cornell University reported that the vast majority of leptospirosis cases they diagnosed in dogs were cause by two strains.
  • Vaccination for leptospirosis is routinely administered to dogs in combination with other common canine vaccines.
  • Your veterinarian will initially recommend a two-shot series.  Re-vaccination frequency will be based on your dog’s risk of exposure.


Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease


1 in 8 dogs tested positive for Lyme disease in


  •  Did you know that dogs are 50% more likely to contract lyme disease than humans?
  • Dogs have been diagnosed with lyme disease in the 48 contiguous states.

We have a responsibility as pet parents to provide protection diseases like lyme.  

Lyme disease symptoms are the “Four L’s”.

1. Limping

2. Lameness

3. Lethargy

4. Loss of Appetite

The disease affects dogs differently and some show no signs at all. It can take up to six months for signs to become visible.

  • Vaccinate against Lyme disease yearly.
  • Use a monthly preventative such as Revolution on all the pets in your house year round.  Nexgard is an available option for dogs.
  • When walking your pet avoid the edging, vegetation, high grass areas as well as brush and leaf piles.
  • Check your pet frequently for ticks. A tick needs to attach itself for 48 hours to transmit lyme disease.

If you suspect your pet may have contracted Lyme disease, please contact your veterinarian and schedule an appointment.

Treatment can be costly due to:

  • Extra veterinary visits
  • Costs of labwork
  • Expense of antibiotics

If left untreated Lyme disease can lead to health complications such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Neurologic disease

Vaccination is the best step to prevention. 

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