Dakin Humane Society: Vaccinations critical for pet health

Jul 31 2016


The topic of vaccination can be a hot-button issue in today’s world, especially when outbreaks of measles make headlines.

By The Republican News Room


The topic of vaccination can be a hot-button issue in today’s world, especially when outbreaks of measles make headlines. There are different viewpoints about the importance of vaccinations to protect public health, and these conflicts arise even when the subject is vaccinating our pets.

It’s frustrating and saddening to see dogs, cats and other animals suffer and die from diseases that could have been prevented had the animal received an inexpensive series of vaccinations. Especially brutal diseases like parvovirus, panleukopenia and canine distemper prey on young as well as elderly animals, especially those who are not protected from the disease by vaccines.

The one most people are aware of, of course, is rabies. Probably the most feared of all diseases, rabies is deadline and zoonotic, which means it can be transmitted from animals to humans. Infection nearly always leads to death, and there is no cure. In response to this, Massachusetts law requires rabies vaccinations for our most popular household pets – cats and dogs.

Also dangerous, although non-zoonotic, are diseases like parvovirus and feline distemper, which are deadly and highly contagious. Both can be transmitted by any person, animal or object that comes into contact with the feces of an infected pet, even a microscopic bit. It’s possible for the virus to live in the environment for months, surviving on objects such as a pet’s food bowl, your clothes and shoes, or on carpet or floors. Unvaccinated pets are at considerable risk of contracting these diseases from the streets, especially in urban areas.

All the devastation brought on by these diseases could have been easily prevented with the proper vaccination.

Core vaccines for all infant and adult cats and dogs include protection against a variety of diseases common to a region. For instance, a dog’s “distemper combo” vaccine might include protection against parvovirus in combination with distemper, parainfluenza, and others.

Your puppy or kitten should receive his first vaccine at about 6-8 weeks of age, a booster at 4-week intervals until he is about 16-20 weeks of age, and then again at 1 year of age. A pet’s vaccination program is not complete before he is four months old. Older pets who have not received a full vaccination series may be susceptible to diseases like parvovirus and should also receive at least one immunization. Your veterinarian can talk to you about how often your pet will need to be revaccinated.

Dakin Humane Society offers affordable vaccine clinics every Thursday morning at our Springfield Adoption & Education Center at 171 Union Street beginning at 9am. We treat the first 40 cats and dogs in line, and people frequently line up at least an hour before doors open to secure their spot with dogs on leashes and cats in carriers, and everybody dressed for the weather.

Our clinic provides rabies and distemper vaccinations for both dogs and cats, bordetella vaccinations for dogs as well as feline leukemia vaccinations for cats. We can test your dog for heartworm or your cat for feline leukemia, provide flea treatments, implant a microchip in your pet, and more. As always, we encourage people with pets to seek the services of qualified veterinarians for their pet’s long-term care, including ongoing wellness treatments, but for those who struggle financially to provide these lifesaving. vaccinations, our clinic offers an option.

With all that’s available to prevent diseases, no animal should suffer from them. We stand ready to help you help them. For more information, visit dakinhumane.org

Lee Chambers is marketing and communications manager of Dakin Humane Society. Dakin delivers effective, innovative services to animals in need and the people who care about them.



Jul 2024