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Vaccinate your pets

Posted: June 8, 2017 2:39 p.m.
Updated: June 9, 2017 1:00 a.m.

We are very concerned about the recent spike in cases of canine distemper seen in our county, state and the Southeast.

Canine distemper is a nasty disease that can and often does kill puppies and dogs that are not sufficiently vaccinated. More specifically, it’s an airborne virus that attacks the digestive, respiratory and central nervous system of dogs and other canines. There is no cure; those that survive usually have permanent and irreparable nervous system damage. In wild animals such as raccoons, skunks and foxes, the disease can mimic rabies.

The worst part of it is that the disease is easily preventable: all anyone has to do is properly vaccinate pets. In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association notes that a major cause of most outbreaks of diseases such as distemper is simply due to irresponsible pet owners failing to vaccinate.

We do applaud Kershaw County for stepping up to offer free vaccination clinics. This starts Monday and runs several days throughout the county. However, what some people don’t realize is that vaccination does not mean “one shot and all is well.” Proper vaccination actually consists of a series of shots in puppies to build their immune systems, then booster shots once a year afterward to maintain protection.

Is it expensive? Not prohibitively -- and quite frankly, that’s a price one should be willing to pay to ensure a pet’s good health.

We greatly appreciate all who take proper and responsible care of their pets by having them vaccinated and checked regularly by a qualified veterinarian and would implore any pet owners who haven’t done so to do so.

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