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Your Guide to 5-in-1 Vaccine Schedule for Puppies | BetterVet

Bringing home your new puppy is an exciting, nerve-wracking, and above all busy time! There are so many things to consider from feeding, worming, and training, to enrolling in puppy preschool, and generally getting to know this new little addition to your family. With all this going on, it can be easy to lose track of your puppy's vaccination schedule, however, it is probably one of the most important factors to remember.

 

What does the 5-in-1 vaccine cover?

Sometimes known as a DHPP vaccine, the 5-in-1 shot protects against 5 viruses that cause severe disease and mortality in dogs:

  • Canine Distemper Virus – this is a particularly nasty virus that is spread largely through respiratory secretions but can cause gastrointestinal and neurological issues as well as pneumonia. Currently, there is no known cure for this often-fatal disease.

  • Canine Adenovirus (CAV) 1 and 2 - CAV-1 is the infectious agent behind Canine Hepatitis, which causes severe liver disease. CAV-2 is one of the viruses associated with kennel cough, one of the most common infectious diseases our canine companions suffer from.

  • Canine Parainfluenza – this is another kennel cough-causing pathogen that often results in coughing, runny noses, and high temperatures. 

  • Canine Parvovirus – this is probably the most well-known virus the vaccine covers, due to the widespread prevalence of the disease all over the world. It can affect any age of dog, but it is often thought of as a disease in young puppies as they are most susceptible. Parvo causes vomiting, bloody diarrhea, dehydration, lethargy, and loss of appetite. 

 

How often do you give a puppy a 5-in-1 vaccine?

The DHPP vaccine can be given from 6-8 weeks of age. Puppies should receive a 5-in-1 shot every 3-4 weeks until they are 16 weeks old. This means that most puppies will receive 3 to 4 puppy shots in their first 4 months of age. Puppies that start their vaccines at an older age may end up having fewer shots but will be more vulnerable to infection early on before they start their vaccination course.
 

It may seem like this is a lot of shots for your puppy to receive, and there are two main reasons for this: 

  1. Vaccines work by training the body to respond to certain infections. Whilst the first vaccine primes the body to know how to respond to a disease or several diseases, a second is needed to ‘booster’ that response and provide maximum protection.

  2. Puppies (and other very young animals) have what is known as Maternally Derived Antibodies (MDA). These are proteins that their mother has developed to fight off disease and are transferred to the puppy during pregnancy and lactation. They provide good disease protection in the first month or two of life but can also act as a barrier to vaccine-acquired immunity up until 14-16 weeks. The presence of MDAs dictates when we start and when we finish our puppy vaccination schedule. You can read more about MDAs and vaccination here.

 

It can be a confusing business working out if your puppy has had all the necessary shots required and at all the right intervals, especially if they started their schedule with their breeder. If you are at all unsure whether your puppy is fully covered, talk to one of our helpful veterinary teams.  

 

FAQs

Are there any side effects to 5-in-1 shots for puppies?

Occasionally, your puppy might be slightly subdued for a day or so after their puppy shot. It is also possible for a small lump to develop where the injection was given, which can be slightly tender to the touch. However, the majority of puppies don’t show any visible signs after vaccination. It is important to contact your veterinarian straight away in the unlikely event of any of the following signs: difficulty breathing, all-over bumps or hives, facial swelling, or repeated vomiting or diarrhea.

 

Does my puppy need any other vaccinations? 

The DHPP vaccine is considered a ‘core’ vaccine which means the World Small Animal Veterinary Association advises that it should be given to all dogs. Other so-called ‘lifestyle’ vaccinations should be used only as and where necessary, depending on your puppy’s individual risk. These include leptospirosis and kennel cough and are described more fully in this article

 

I think my puppy may be sick, can she still have her 5-in-1 puppy shot?

More than likely, your veterinarian will postpone your puppy’s vaccination if they are not well. There may be some more minor, superficial ailments that can be treated on the same day as a vaccination. However, when we administer any vaccination, we are asking the body’s immune system to work harder than usual for a while. If your puppy is already feeling unwell, giving a vaccination can risk making her sicker, or risk the vaccination not working very well. If you think your puppy might be sick or are unsure if you should take her for her puppy shot, have a chat with one of our vets to help point you in the best direction for treatment

 

Will my puppy need another 5-in-1 vaccine in the future?

In short, yes. Vaccine schedules for adult dogs vary between regions and depend on local risk. Traditionally, young adult dogs were given a 5-in-1 booster 9-12 months after their final puppy shot, however, there is evidence now that suggests there are benefits to giving this booster younger, at around 6 to 9 months of age. After this adolescent booster, the 5-in-1 vaccine need only be given every 3 years. Your vet will most likely issue you with a vaccine recall reminder when their next shot is due.