What Do All Of Those Vaccine Acronyms Mean???

Dr. Bob recently wrote an article about the Dog Flu vaccine, following a large outbreak in New York of this potentially deadly virus, and then he followed that with an article about Leptospirosis, another potentially deadly disease in both pets and people. As a result, Dr. Bob and our team have received a lot of great questions from customers who want to protect their pets against these lethal, but preventable diseases. It has also brought up valuable discussions with dog owners regarding other diseases that we are protecting pets against.

When Dr. Bob first started working for a veterinarian in Nashville, Tennessee, he saw an endless parade of pets with infectious diseases. After he graduated from veterinary school in 1982 and jumped into private practice, he continued to see many puppies with Distemper and Parvo, both with a high mortality (death) rate. It was so sad to see… especially since there were vaccines available to prevent these killers.

At that time, most pet owners were not in the habit of getting their pets regularly vaccinated. Fortunately, an effective campaign was waged which encouraged pet owners to get their dogs and cats immunized, and over the course of several years, there was a large reduction in these contagious diseases, especially Distemper.  But sadly, even now, the highly contagious and highly fatal Parvo virus is still a very active and significant health threat to puppies.

Vaccines can be a complicated topic. Consider that soon, millions of Americans will be getting flu shots, as they do year-over-year. Plus there is a new vaccine for shingles (caused by herpes virus) that millions more people over the age of 60 will be getting. Not to mention all the vaccines that children get to protect against measles, mumps, hepatitis, diphtheria, tetanus, meningitis, influenza, etc.

One common source of confusion to pet owners is the way veterinarians describe the vaccines they give to pets. There is no “standard” within the profession, so when learn that your dog needs its DA2PL or DHPP or DAPP+CV or DA2P+CPV, you might think, “what the heck does it all mean???” We can assure you that veterinarians do not have a hidden agenda to confuse their clients!  

Take a look below. Dr. Bob has broken down the cryptic letters and acronyms so that, in the future, you might have a better understanding of each vaccine and what it protects against. 

DA2PL… DAPP… DAPP+CV… DA2P+CPV… or similar variations.
These are given within the same vaccine.

D = Distemper (respiratory, neurological and respiratory disease)

A or A2 = Respiratory disease / Kennel cough caused by Adenovirus Type 2

P = Parainfluenza (flu-like virus, and one of many germs that can cause kennel cough)

P or CPV = Canine Parvo Virus (highly contagious and highly fatal intestinal disease that also wipes out the body’s immune / defense system)

L or L2 or L4 = Leptospirosis  (potentially fatal liver and kidney infection) (L2 protects against 2 forms of Lepto … L4* protects against 4 forms of Lepto)

CV = Corona virus – We do NOT give this vaccine at CVPC as it is generally considered to be a secondary disease, meaning it comes along after another, significant disease strikes first.

*At Carolina Value Pet Care, we routinely give the Distemper-Parvo vaccine with L4.
We also give Rabies vaccines, Bordetella vaccines, and Dog Flu vaccines – each given separately.


FVRCP… FVRCP+FeLV… HCPCH… or similar variations.  

F = Feline = Cat

V = Viral (caused by a virus)

R or H = Rhinotracheitis / Herpes Virus (herpes virus that causes upper respiratory infections)

C = Calici virus (causes upper respiratory infections)

P = Panleukopenia = Feline Distemper (a highly fatal disease that attacks the body’s immune / defense system, the intestinal tract and nervous system)

CH or Ch = Chlamydia (respiratory infection)

FLV or FeLV = Feline Leukemia (deadly disease that attacks the red blood cells, lymph glands and immune / defense system)

We also provide the Rabies vaccine, given separately.