Lee County Domestic Animal Services is warning pet owners to vaccinate their pets against highly contagious and deadly diseases. This warning comes after a spike in puppies and young adult dogs from the community that tested positive for Parvovirus over the past two weeks both at the LCDAS Veterinary Clinic and at local emergency clinics.
"It is heartbreaking that our tax dollars must be used to euthanize canines exposed to Parvovirus due to irresponsible owners who do not vaccinate their pets against deadly diseases. A $10 vaccine is much less expensive than treatment or euthanasia if the pet cannot be saved, not to mention the extreme pain and suffering the pet experiences. If you truly care about your pets, you will ensure they are protected through vaccination," said shelter director Donna Ward in a prepared statement.
Animal Services protocols include fully vaccinating animals upon intake. Dogs less than one year of age are tested for Parvovirus.
"Although all dogs are vaccinated against Parvovirus upon intake at our shelter, dogs less than five months of age that have had only one vaccination may not be fully protected. It is recommended that owners check with their veterinarian to optimize the vaccination schedule for their dog," said shelter veterinarian Dr. Nicole Feguson in the statement.
Ferguson also recommends pet owners limit their pet's exposure to other animals by not visiting pet stores, dog beaches, and dog parks until their pet has been fully vaccinated, which usually requires a minimum of three boosters within three to four weeks of one another for puppies.
Parvovirus is spread from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact with their feces or passed along to puppies from unvaccinated nursing mothers. Common signs include sudden onset of severe vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. The virus can live in organic matter, such as soil, for over a year.
More information about proper pet care and a list of local veterinary, emergency, and low-cost clinics, is available at www.leelostpets.com.