Safety and Side Effects of 5-Way Vaccines

You want to ensure the dogs in your care are healthy. Vaccines play a vital role in protecting our dogs from harmful diseases. The 5-way vaccine, also known as the DA2PP vaccine, 5-way veterinary vaccination or 5-way puppy shot, protects dogs against five common viruses in a single dose.

Dogs love exploring the world around them, increasing their chances of contact with different types of viruses, bacteria and other harmful pathogens. Vaccines offer dogs a first line of defense by helping their immune systems create antibodies to fight off diseases.

What Is a 5-Way Vaccine for Dogs?

A 5-way vaccine for dogs is a combination of vaccines that protect against canine distemper, two types of adenovirus, parainfluenza and parvovirus. In one efficient dose containing micro elements of these diseases, a dog’s immune system prepares antibodies to fight against any potential exposure to five common viruses. Some 5-way vaccines may also include non-core vaccines, which protect dogs against other diseases and may be recommended based on location and lifestyle.

There are many advantages to choosing a 5-way vaccine for your dogs:

  • Single dose: Instead of five injections in one visit, your veterinarian only needs to administer one.
  • Cost-effective: Vaccinations can help prevent certain illnesses, which costs less than treating those diseases. Some of these diseases frequently have fatal outcomes.
  • Safety for other pets: When a dog has protection against transmittable diseases, it can help prevent the spreading of these to other dogs.
  • Builds immunity: Vaccinating a puppy helps develop its immune system from a young age.

How to Ensure Safety in the 5-Way Vaccination

The 5-way vaccine is a core vaccine for dogs, containing a combination of five individual core vaccines. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) identifies core vaccines as crucial to a dog’s health and safety and recommends all dogs receive core vaccines regardless of lifestyle. You can help ensure safety in canine vaccination through proper vaccine administration and by only using canine vaccines with a license that meets the purity, safety and efficacy requirements. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issues these licenses after doing extensive laboratory studies, clinical trials and manufacturer inspections.

Vaccines are only effective when they adhere to storing and handling regulations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that vaccines keep at a temperature between 36°F and 46°F. Check the package insert for specifics about the storage temperature for the vaccine you will administer. Keep the vaccine in the refrigerator until it is time to administer it. Make sure to use a new, sterile syringe and needle with each dog to avoid any cross-contamination.

Common Side Effects of 5-Way Veterinary Vaccination

Some dogs are lucky enough to cruise through the process effortlessly, but it’s common for dogs to experience mild reactions after receiving their vaccination. Possible side effects of the 5-in-1 shot for dogs include:

  • Soreness
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Tiredness
  • A slight fever
  • Decreased appetite

These might appear within a few hours of receiving the vaccination but should disappear within two days.

You might notice a minor swelling under the skin when a dog is vaccinated, but it will fade quickly. With mild cases, there is generally no prescribed treatment to alleviate or manage the side effects of 5-way vaccines. Sometimes, your vet might prescribe antihistamines or anti-inflammatories to reduce a dog’s sneezing or other reactions after getting their vaccination. Dogs may need extra attention while you monitor their symptoms. Tell your vet if a dog has shown a strange reaction to vaccines before, no matter how mild. In these cases, having your vet administer the vaccine in a controlled environment may be best.

How Often to Administer Vaccinations

While there are some general rules for administering canine vaccinations, remember that each dog is unique and has different health care needs. The best way to ensure dogs get the vaccinations they need when they need them is by working with your veterinarian to plan an effective vaccination schedule.

  • Puppies: Puppies at least 6 weeks old should receive a 5-way vaccine every two to four weeks until they are 16 weeks old.
  • Unvaccinated dogs: Dogs older than 16 weeks who have never been vaccinated should receive one or two initial doses.
  • Vaccinated dogs: Dogs older than 16 weeks who are up to date with their vaccinations may have booster doses of the 5-way vaccine every one to three years based on lifestyle.

In most small kennels or kennels with minimal disease exposure, boosters should be given every 3 to 4 weeks. In larger kennels with a history of outbreaks or shelters, boosters can be given every 2 weeks, never more often than every 14 days.

When to Wait With Administration

Core vaccines protect against a few highly contagious viruses, so vaccination is critical. Most dogs should get core vaccines, like the 5-way vaccine and rabies, depending on their age and health status. The AAHA recommends continuing vaccinations for senior dogs to support their immune systems.

If puppies receive the vaccine before they are 6 weeks old, while they still have antibodies from their mother’s milk, their immune systems might block the vaccine. After weaning, the “window of susceptibility” is the perfect time to administer the vaccine. Because it can be difficult to determine this window for each puppy, veterinarians administer a series of vaccinations to ensure puppies develop the proper protection as soon as their mothers’ antibodies wear off.

Pregnant and nursing dogs’ immune systems work hard to supply nutrition to puppies. If a dog is pregnant or nursing, it’s best for her to receive her vaccination when the puppies finish weaning and her immune system can respond appropriately.

Protect Your Dogs Against Preventable Diseases

Canine vaccines consist of modified or killed versions of diseases, which helps a dog’s immune system fight off invaders if it’s exposed. The 5-way vaccine is the best way to ensure your dogs live healthy lives. While vaccination may have some mild side effects, the benefits are worth a few days with a sniffling pup.

Get 5-way vaccines for dogs from the Pet Vaccine Experts at Revival Animal Health. We offer fast and safe shipping of all online orders. Our Pet Care Pros are ready to help you find the best vaccines for your dogs. Call us at 800-786-4751.

Written by: Marty Greer, DVM

Director of Veterinary Services

Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 40+ years’ experience in veterinary medicine, with special interests in canine reproduction and pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1981. She’s served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services since 2019. In 2023, Dr. Greer was named the Westminster Kennel Club Veterinarian of the Year.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.