ARC: Disease control in Van Horn

BY SHEILA GILMORE

"Summertime! And the livin’ is easy!” at least for some of us and only if you are not a stray animal. During the warm summer months, disease is rampant and spreads easily.

Unvaccinated animals are out and wandering in the evenings – about the same time humans are outside working in their yards or washing their trucks. In addition, all of the cute little babies born during the Spring, are now old enough to forage for themselves with immune systems weak enough to catch or become carriers of several dangerous diseases.

If your animal had babies this Spring, it is imperative that you have them vaccinated. The impact to your other pets, your neighbor’s pets and our community as a whole is more than you might imagine when your animals are not vaccinated.

The other pets in your family deserve to stay healthy and happy. Upon making an entrance into your home, your new little pets pose a threat to your entire family if they don’t have immunity to certain diseases. Rabies is particularly dangerous. Once your pet or your child is bitten by an animal with rabies, you can bet on certain death.

Distemper is also a problem. If your cute little "bundle of fur” gets distemper, they will die after suffering horribly and possibly infecting any other animal within touching distance. Additionally, as you may well know, Parvo is highly contagious and seems to be a big problem in Van Horn. Don’t make the mistake of bringing these diseases into your home by not vaccinating.

Wouldn’t it be awful if your pet died of distemper and then you found that your sick pet infected the neighbor’s pets, too? Potentially, an entire block could be affected by one infected animal. One of the reasons that we continue to have disease problems in our community, is that we have owners not vaccinating and then allowing their pets to wander the streets. This is dangerous for everyone in the area.

Unvaccinated animals bring sickness to the humans around them. Certain diseases carried by dogs and cats can be transmitted to people. For example, just about any type of parasite is transferrable to humans. Also, although undocumented in the current literature, there are hypotheses that some diseases, like Parvo, can be transmitted to humans in a mutated form.

So how do we keep disease from spreading in our community?

First: VACCINATE your own pets as early as you can. Puppies can have their first vaccine at 6 weeks and kittens at 8 weeks. Your baby animal has the best chance at developing immunity through vaccinations before 4 months old and then you only need an annual booster to continue the immunity.

Second: Keep your animals at home – behind a fence or on a leash. Healthy animals or ones that have not had regular shots are vulnerable to disease. You may have vaccinated your pet, but others may not and you put your animal at risk by letting them run the neighborhood. Besides, it is illegal in Van Horn to have your pet outside of your yard without a restraint.

Third: Keep other animals out of your yard. If you have strays that come into your area, call Animal Control. This is for the safety of everyone! Even if it is your neighbor’s dog, call Animal Control! Your family and pets as well as theirs are at risk when you allow animals that are not yours into your yard.

The ARC is trying to address the disease problem in Van Horn by providing information and early, inexpensive puppy and kitten vaccinations to the community. Please bring your puppy or kitten into the ARC on our "clinic” days and have them vaccinated. For every injection we are able to give your pets, we are able to inject an adoptable stray in an effort to eradicate some of these problems. Do your part to help control disease in our town. Your community will thank you.



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