March was a busy month at the Proud Animal Lovers Shelter (PALS). Eleven cats were taken in and nine were adopted. We took in 18 dogs and 15 went to their forever homes.
With the number of animals coming in and out, our PALS Person of the Month, David Fenton, is kept quite busy. Since 2016, David has fed dogs, cleaned runs, cleaned the cat room, done laundry and dishes, mopped floors and taken out trash. David is very good at sitting with and comforting frightened dogs. He says what he likes best is watching a dog get adopted to a good home.
We all love seeing these little ones going to good forever homes. There are many national pet holidays and April 30 is “Adopt a Shelter Pet Day.” To adopt one of our shelter pets, we will ask you for a vet reference and we do check it. When adopting a dog, $85 covers heartworm testing, spay/neuter, vaccinations, microchipping and they are on flea and heartworm preventatives. Cats are $65. They are tested for feline leukemia, spayed/neutered, vaccinated and treated for fleas. Cats that have been at the shelter longer than six months are only $45.
In addition to the importance of heartworm testing and prevention that we discussed last month, another major issue is the spread of canine parvovirus, or parvo. It’s a virus that comes from the feces of an infected dog and causes inflammation of the intestines. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea and vomiting.
Several area veterinarians have noticed an increase in parvo cases over the last few weeks. All age groups of dogs can get parvo, not just puppies. You can keep your dogs safe by making sure they are vaccinated. Puppies need a shot at 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks. It’s very important to get those last two to ensure complete protection. Adult dogs with no vaccination history receive one shot and a booster four weeks later. Afterward, dogs should be on a yearly vaccination schedule.
Getting those vaccines may seem expensive, but it’s nothing compared to the average cost of $600 to $800 to treat the infected dog. Because parvo is a virus, the treatment is really just supportive care. Parvo can be fatal.
Until your puppy or adult dog has received all its vaccines, it should be kept away from dog parks and really anywhere outside. The virus can live in some places up to 10 years. If your puppy goes into a yard that used to have a dog with parvo 10 years before, it could still get infected.
If your dog has had parvo, the only way to completely sanitize your home is to use chlorine bleach.
Hopefully, you will never have to deal with this disease. The way to make sure of that is to vaccinate your dog. Also, make sure your dog has been dewormed because worms can cause symptoms similar to parvo — diarrhea and vomiting.
We, at PALS, make sure all of our puppies and dogs have received all of their age-appropriate vaccinations. We encourage everyone to visit their veterinarian for regular exams and vaccinations. Your pet’s health and happiness depend on you.
Patti Findley is vice president of the board of directors of PALS.