Can you vaccinate your dog against parvo, bacteria that can kill you?

It’s cold weather, dog days of summer are in the distant future. And now pets have an illness they can’t cope with.

My dog, Buddy, started parvo, a contagious virus, while he was in-patient at the Animal Medical Center. He was placed on special temperature medication, fluids and a shot of antibiotics when we arrived to take him to the vet.

If you do not recall his quick recovery, we are talking about two days in the ICU. As a vet, I can tell you, Dr. John Ross (Animal Medical Center) did his darndest to get Buddy home.

Despite Dr. Ross doing all that was needed to save Buddy’s life, he is still recovering from the illness. When Buddy started to hang his head, I said something to him. He tried to lift it up. I smiled and told him I’m not going to lose an eye for you. The next day, I said the same thing, with tears rolling down my cheeks.

I could only imagine Buddy’s fear and torment. I know the horrors of dog parvo are almost unbearable. Is there a vaccine out there to protect our pets? Yes. They are available now. They work just like a human flu shot. And the best part, they are free. They were rushed to the veterinarians at the Animal Medical Center in the days after Buddy’s recovery.

Are there trials going on in stores in order to get this vaccine to our pets for Christmas and the Fourth of July? I am not sure. I am assuming they are being used in dog and cat medical clinics so that they are applied the minute the pet arrives for examination.

My concern is that the dogs of America are not vaccinated for these illnesses. If every pet owner were vaccinated against these viruses, it would be much more difficult for these diseases to spread around the country.

It is my hope that a new puppy(s) gets vaccinated every few months with the same drugs that are being administered to Buddy. These times would be great for giving playtime between vaccines. Sadly, it is not possible for most of us, including me, to fit this into our busy schedules. My hope is that Congress continues to try to expand eligibility for vaccinations.

Why do we expect our dogs and cats to be immune to diseases that enter the home from other animals. If your pet is sharing close quarters with another dog, cats or bird, why should your pet not be vaccinated against parvo, distemper and other diseases?

So if you have a pet, go get your pet vaccinated. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Harlan Weaver is the founder of Moving Walls. Read his newest book “Mr. Mayo Gets His Dog Fever” about the evolution of the human-vet relationship.

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