While many people are aware of the Rabies vaccine required by law in both dogs and cats, many people do not realize the benefits of the distemper vaccines. Given annually (or, as recomended by your doctor), these vaccines help prevent some of the more common viruses seen in dogs and cats. The DHLPP or dog distemper Vaccine protects against several different diseases:

Canine distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that affects the respiratory and nervous system and is often fatal.
Canine Adenovirus Type 1 infection causes infectious hepatitis which may lead to severe liver damage. Type 2 can be a complicating factor in kennel cough.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease carried by many wild animals. A dog can contract the disease from infected animals or by drinking contaminated water. Yearly vaccination reduces your dog's chances of acquiring the disease.
Canine Parvovirus is a contagious viral disease that usually causes diarrhea and vomiting in dogs of all ages, but is especially deadly in puppies.
Canine Parainfluenza is a viral respiratory disease that is often partly responsible for "kennel cough" in dogs. Infection can be severe in young puppies. This protection is included in the distemper vaccine.

The annual feline distemper vaccine also protects your cat as well. Some of the more common diseases that your vet is concerned about are:

Feline Panleukipenia is sometimes called "feline distemper." This disease causes severe vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. It is the most widespread disease of cats and causes high death loss, especially among kittens. This disease is caused by a virus and is highly contagious.
Feline Rhinotracheitis is a widespread respiratory disease caused by a virus. It is most severe in small kittens and can cause profuse discharge from the eyes and nose.
Feline Calicivirus causes a variety of symptoms including fever, excess salivation and mouth or tongue ulcers. It is usually less fatal than rhinotracheitis or panleukipenia.
Feline Pneumonitis is a respiratory infection with symptoms resembling feline viral rhinotracheitis. The disease is caused by the organism Chlamydis Psittaci and can be complicated by associated bacterial infections.

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