MISSOULA - The Humane Society of Western Montana (HSWM) will be hosting a dog and cat vaccine clinic to help prevent the spread of parvovirus as well as other preventable diseases.
The event will take place from 12 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19 at the Missoula County Fairgrounds at Building 9. The walk-in clinic is being held in response to a rise in the number of parvovirus cases in and around Missoula County, according to a news release.
HSWM Director of Outreach Meredith Stewart notes the HSWM has not experienced a positive case of parvovirus at the shelter in several years.
“For over six years, to the best of my knowledge, not one case of Parvo has come through our doors. Last month a total of three dogs had to be treated for Parvo. While three cases might seem to be a small number, we believe any Parvo case is cause for concern and three demands action against the spread of disease.”
The Humane Society of Western Montana notes that canine parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that can produce life-threatening illnesses. It also attacks the white blood cells, which makes infected dogs more vulnerable to other diseases.
Vaccines are highly effective against parvovirus and create an immune response within seven to 10 days. However, HSWM notes that it is important that dogs initially receive at least two vaccines two to four weeks apart in order to be fully protected.
“Puppies are typically most at risk for the disease, as they need vaccines every two to four weeks until they’re five months old, but any dog who is not fully vaccinated can get it,” said HSWM Shelter Medicine Director Dr. Sam Mitchell.
HSWM is encouraging pet owners to visit their veterinarians following adoption. However, the current veterinary shortage is causing many pet owners to experience difficulty scheduling timely appointments.
The rising cost of living can also force pet owners to make challenging budget decisions, which has led to an unfortunate rise in Parvo cases, according to HSWM.
“We know people are struggling to access veterinary services and we hope public clinics like this one on November 19 will improve the lives of many pets and people in our area,“ added Stewart.
Owners who notice their dog experiencing severe vomiting, loss of appetite, depression or bloody diarrhea should contact their veterinarian immediately.
The following information is from the American Veterinary Medical Association website:
Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that can affect all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies younger than four months old are the most at risk. Dogs that are ill from canine parvovirus infection are often said to have "parvo." The virus affects dogs' gastrointestinal tracts and is spread by direct dog-to-dog contact and contact with contaminated feces (stool), environments, or people. The virus can also contaminate kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs. It is resistant to heat, cold, humidity, and drying, and can survive in the environment for long periods of time. Even trace amounts of feces from an infected dog may harbor the virus and infect other dogs that come into the infected environment. The virus is readily transmitted from place to place on the hair or feet of dogs or via contaminated cages, shoes, or other objects.