Thanks to the pandemic, routine things got out of whack these last few years, and getting back into the swing of things has been hard. One of those things, that has become apparent to animal welfare professionals, is basic routine care for our pets. It was difficult to get a vet appointment during the pandemic, and, if you did, most likely you had to do a drop-off or wait in your car. Vet clinics did the best they could, just like all of us, but we need to get back to pre-pandemic norms for annual pet vaccines!

The consequences of putting off vaccines are showing in our community shelters and local clinics where pets are coming in at higher than ever rates with preventable diseases like distemper, parvo, and panleukopenia. To prevent in-shelter spread, many of our community shelters are closing, or limiting intake, putting a hardship on the community members in most need of the shelter safety net.

Many people think these diseases will only impact puppies and kittens, and they may assume that the dog they brought home at the beginning of the pandemic is safe now that he is 2 years old. I will never forget a family I met in Austin nearly a decade ago who had to give up their pet to the shelter after 8 years because he had parvo. He was not a dog that went on adventures – he stayed home, lounged on the couch, hung out in the backyard, and was a loyal companion. They decided to take him out to a park, and about a week later he became lethargic and then started having diarrhea and vomiting. This family, like most, assumed their senior dog, who had gotten puppy shots, was adequately protected; however, they had to give him up in the end because the cost of care was beyond their means.

At Spay Neuter Network we are committed to making vaccinations more accessible so pets can get the care they need and return to pre-pandemic inoculation levels. We believe that, if we can provide low-cost vaccination options, we can keep people and pets together by preventing costly and life-threatening diseases. This Spring we partnered with Petco Love, Maddie’s Fund, Operation Kindness, Dallas Animal Services, and Dallas Pets Alive! to vaccinate more than 1,000 dogs and cats. We are offering additional discounts in June for the distemper/parvo vaccine and will be running a vaccination special for cats in July. Please do not wait to protect your pet!