If veterinary medicine terminology makes your head spin, take a deep breath and relax. The contents of that 8 in 1 shot your pooch just got are easier to interpret than you thought. Familiarizing yourself with all the combos your vet dishes out will help you make better decisions in the future.
Distemper is classified as a core vaccine. Core in this case simply means it is a shot that should be on your dog's menu of shots. Distemper is a highly contagious and potentially deadly disease affecting the dog's respiratory, urogenital, gastrointestinal and nervous system. This vaccination is often abbreviated as CDV, which stands for canine distemper virus.
Canine adenovirus type 2 is another core vaccination you will want to order. There are two types of adenovirus affecting dogs: canine adenovirus type 1, often abbreviated as CAV-1, which infects major organs and leads to canine infectious hepatitis, and canine adenovirus type 2, often abbreviated as CAV-2, which leads to a respiratory disease. The CAV-2 vaccine provides immunity against both CAV-1 and CAV-2 strains of adenovirus without major side effects, according to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. CAV-2, therefore, covers two components in the 8 in 1 combo shot. A great way to kill two birds with one stone!
The parvo vaccine is another core vaccination added to the cocktail of vaccines in the 8 in 1 shot. This is a serious and potentially deadly enteric disease common among puppies. The virus can be easily spread by direct or indirect contact with contaminated feces. Dog parks, vet offices, pet stores and kennels are hotbeds for this disease. This vaccination is often abbreviated as CPV2, which stands for canine parvo virus type 2.
While parainfluenza was once a core vaccination, it has now been downgraded to a non-core vaccination. This means this is an optional, off the menu vaccine, but may be recommended by your veterinarian based on location and the lifestyle of your pet. Parainfluenza is one of the culprits for kennel cough, an airborne respiratory disease causing dogs to honk like ducks. Don't go on a vaccination binge; consider that this vaccine is mostly recommended for dogs congregating with other dogs when being boarded, hospitalized or kenneled. This vaccination is often abbreviated as CPiV, which stands for canine para influenza virus.
This non-core vaccination is often recommended for dogs living in rural areas. The disease is transmitted by the urine of an infected animal. Common hosts are rats, mice and moles. A dog would need to lick the urine of an infected host to get the disease. Most 8 in 1 vaccines protect against the two most common lepto strains: leptospira canicola and the almost unpronounceable leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae. This shot, therefore, adds two more components in the 8 in 1 combo shot, bringing it to seven components. Some manufacturers may add additional coverage for two extra strains. Feel like you have a lot on your plate? Ask your vet if this vaccine is really necessary based on where you live.
This is the last non-core vaccination added to the 8 in 1 all-you-can-eat buffet from your vet's office. This vaccination, abbreviated as CCV, stands for canine corona virus. This disease causes a highly contagious intestinal disease seen for the most part in young puppies. Vaccination against corona virus is not recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association because it has shown little proof for significantly reducing this disease. For a good reason some vets refer to this vaccine as "a vaccine looking for a disease." You ultimately owe it to your dog to take some time and do some research before saying "yes" to an eight-course meal. You may find it more appropriate giving a 5 in 1 shot, or even better, giving some vaccinations separately, a few weeks apart. There is ultimately no such thing as a free lunch; don't pay the hefty price of over vaccinating your pet.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.