Bakersfield dogs are getting sick! FREE help here!

Kern County Animal Services Offering Free Parvo/Distemper Vaccines 

Kern County Animal Services will be offering free Parvo/Distemper vaccinations at the next 2 Wednesday evening vaccination clinics. The free vaccinations are being offered to the public in response to a significant increase in the cases of Canine Distemper Virus in shelter animals. The easiest, most efficient way to protect both owned animals and shelter animals from Distemper is by increasing the community animals’ immunity through vaccination.

Distemper is a highly contagious and potentially deadly viral illness with no known cure, but is easily preventable through vaccination. It can be transmitted through the air, and can be communicated by direct or indirect contact with an infected animal. The symptoms of Distemper include runny nose, watery eyes, fever, lethargy, and neurological symptoms like twitching. It is more commonly seen in puppies that have yet to fully develop their immune system, but can also be diagnosed in adult and adolescent dogs.

Kern County Animal Services held its first free vaccination clinic on June 2nd of this year, in response to an increase in the occurrence of animals being presented to the shelter by members of the public with clinical signs of Distemper. In late August and early September, the Department received several calls from adopters and local Veterinarians advising of animals being treated or euthanized for signs of Distemper. As a result, comprehensive tests were ordered on dogs being treated for illness in the shelter on Wednesday, September 5th, and results came back on Friday, September 7th that confirmed 14 dogs at the Kern County Animal Shelter tested positive for the Distemper virus. On Monday, September 10th, 67 samples were sent in to the University of Wisconsin’s Shelter Medicine Program, and preliminary results received today, September 12th confirmed 16 positive tests. Kern County Animal Services houses approximately 300 dogs at any given time. The Department is working closely with the University of Wisconsin to protect the health and safety of shelter animals, as well as the health and safety of Kern County’s owned animals.

The Department is asking anyone that has received a dog from KCAS within the last 30 days, via private party adoption or as a non-profit partner, that is displaying any of the above mentioned symptoms to contact them directly and they will provide diagnostic testing and supportive care for the animal. “When we first discovered the prevalence of the virus in our shelter animals, we learned that many animal shelters choose to completely depopulate their shelter of dogs by euthanizing. We’ve decided that was not the path we wanted to take. We have chosen a very aggressive response strategy, and intend to come out of it with confidence and a stronger capacity to help our community’s animals”, states Nick Cullen, Director of Kern County Animal Services.

Kern County Animal Services is urging animal owners to have their animals vaccinated, particularly against illnesses that are endemic to our community such as Distemper and Parvovirus. “The health and protection of our shelter animals is directly related to the illnesses that are prevalent in our community. The more that animal owners vaccinate their animals, the less prevalent diseases like Distemper will be in our community, and as a result the less prevalent it will be in our shelters”, stated Director Cullen. The Department is also asking for the public’s support by:

  • Vaccinate your pets, especially against illnesses like Distemper and Parvovirus that are endemic to Kern County
  • If you are intending to surrender a dog, have the dog vaccinated several days prior to bringing the dog to any shelter
  • If your own animal begins to display signs of illness, seek immediate veterinary care
  • Please consider donations of dog toys and treats to keep the dogs being held for observation as comfortable and happy as possible

What – Free Parvo/Distemper Vaccine For Both City And County Residents

When – Wednesday September 19th, and Wednesday September 26th from 5:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Where – Kern County Animal Services@3951 Fruitvale Ave

Who – All residents

*If you can't make it on a Wednesday night, Critters Without Litters offers low-cost vaccinations Monday through Thursday from 10am to 2pm. No appointment needed!

Danny Spanks

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