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Care Guide

About Care Guides[x] These care guides are written to help your clients understand common conditions, tests, and procedures, as well as to provide basic information about pet care. They are based on the most up-to-date, documented information, recommendations, and guidelines available in the United States at the time of writing. Pharmaceutical product licensing, availability, and usage recommendations are based on US product information. Use the Download Handout button to generate a PDF for printing or e-mailing to your clients.

Combination Vaccines for Leptospirosis and Coronavirus

    • Leptospirosis and coronavirus are contagious diseases.
    • At vaccination time, dogs are typically given a “combination” vaccine that includes protection against several diseases, including canine distemper and parvovirus.
    • This combination vaccine may be expanded to include protection for leptospirosis and/or coronavirus as well.

    What Are Leptospirosis and Coronavirus?

    Leptospirosis is a potentially serious disease caused by the bacterium Leptospira interrogans. It affects dogs but can also infect humans and a wide variety of domestic and wild animals. The bacteria can survive for long periods of time in water and are frequently found in swamps, streams, lakes, and standing water. They also survive well in mud and moist soil, and localized outbreaks can occur after flooding. Infected animals can continue to shed the bacteria in their urine for months or even years after recovery. Carriers of the bacteria include raccoons, opossums, rodents, skunks, and dogs. The disease is transmitted to dogs when they have contact with contaminated urine, water, or soil.

    Coronavirus is a highly contagious infection of puppies and older dogs that primarily attacks the intestinal tract. It is spread from dog to dog through contact with feces. The incubation period can be as short as 1 to 4 days.

    What Are the Clinical Signs of Leptospirosis and Coronavirus?

    Clinical signs of leptospirosis typically develop 2 to 12 days after exposure to the bacterium. In many dogs, infection may remain chronic or without clinical signs. In more serious cases, dogs may experience potentially fatal kidney or liver disease.

    Signs of leptospirosis include:

    • Weight loss
    • Fever
    • Loss of appetite
    • Vomiting
    • Lethargy
    • Muscle and/or joint pain
    • Diarrhea
    • Bloody urine
    • Excessive thirst
    • Jaundice
    • Excessive bleeding

    Coronavirus infections are typically mild and self-limiting, and infected dogs may have several days of diarrhea that resolves without treatment. Other signs of coronavirus may include:

    • Depression
    • Fever
    • Loss of appetite
    • Vomiting

    What Are Combination Vaccines?

    Vaccines for leptospirosis and coronavirus are commonly given along with vaccines against other diseases as part of a combination or “combo” vaccine. While commonly referred to as a canine distemper vaccination, this vaccine typically protects your pet against more than just distemper—it is actually multiple vaccines incorporated into one injection. As a result, your pet will be protected from several serious diseases.

    Your veterinarian will recommend the appropriate vaccine combination for your dog based in part on your dog’s age and individual disease risk profile. In general, most distemper combination vaccines protect against canine distemper, canine adenovirus-2 (hepatitis and respiratory disease), canine parvovirus, and parainfluenza. The abbreviation for this combination vaccine is frequently written as DHPPV, DHPP, DA2PP, or DA2PPV on your pet’s health records. This is also sometimes referred to as a five way or five-in-one distemper vaccine.

    This is what the letters mean in those acronyms:

    D = Canine distemper virus, a serious disease that can lead to death in nearly 50% of untreated dogs. It attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous system of dogs and many other mammals.

    H = Hepatitis. This is typically a vaccine for canine adenovirus-2, which also protects against canine adenovirus-1. It is often recorded as A2. Canine adenovirus-1 causes canine infectious hepatitis, a serious disease that affects the liver. Canine adenovirus-2 causes respiratory disease and is one of the infectious agents commonly associated with infectious tracheobronchitis, also known as kennel cough.

    A2 = Canine adenovirus-2, which causes a respiratory disease in dogs (see above).

    P = Parvovirus, a highly contagious, serious disease that can lead to death in nearly 90% of untreated dogs. The virus attacks the gastrointestinal system of unvaccinated animals, causing debilitating diarrhea and vomiting.

    P = Parainfluenza, a virus that causes a mild respiratory disease in dogs.

    V = Virus.

    Therefore, a notation in your pet’s vaccination record for DA2PPV or one of the other abbreviations above means that he or she was vaccinated against canine distemper, hepatitis, canine adenovirus-2, parvovirus, and parainfluenza virus.

    What Are Vaccination Combinations Containing Leptospirosis and/or Coronavirus?

    Leptospirosis and coronavirus vaccinations are not required for all dogs. This means that not all dogs need to be vaccinated against these diseases. Depending on your dog’s individual disease risk, which includes the age of your pet (puppy vs. adult) as well as lifestyle considerations (active, outdoor dog vs. primarily indoor pet), your veterinarian may recommend vaccinating against leptospirosis and/or coronavirus. If you see the following letters in your pet’s vaccine records, here is what they mean:

    C = Coronavirus

    L = Leptospirosis

    Combination vaccines containing leptospirosis and/or coronavirus may be noted in this way: DA2LPPC, DHLPPC, DA2PPC, DHPPC, DHLPP, DA2LPP, DA2LPPCV, or DHLPPCV.

    It is important to keep in mind that vaccination is a medical procedure. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions on how to monitor your pet for signs of a reaction. Although rare, they can occur.

    Reviewed December 2011