By Linda Mathes

A recent parvovirus outbreak in this area has resulted in the closure of one shelter and several cases of parvo in other shelters.

This is a reminder of how important it is to vaccinate your pets. Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious and deadly disease that usually spreads in warm weather so spring is a prime time for parvo. Dogs who are not vaccinated, and contact the disease, have a 5-10 percent survival rate.

The Unicoi County Animal Shelter encourages all pet owners to follow a vaccination schedule to ensure their pets do not contact a preventable disease. Puppies need vaccinations early, as the antibodies they receive from their mother start to decrease around 6-8 weeks of age. It is during this time puppies start building their own immunity through vaccinations.

Recommended vaccinations are:

• 6-8 weeks – Distemper, Parainfluenza;

• 10-12 weeks – DHPP (vaccines for distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza and parvovirus);

• 12-24 weeks – Rabies (as required by law);

• 14-16 weeks – DHPP booster;

• 12-16 months – Rabies, DHPP booster;

• 1-2 years – DHPP booster;

• 1-3 years – Rabies.

Following this recommended schedule will help ensure that your pet has a healthy and long life.

As always, the shelter needs donations of clumping and non-clumping cat litter, laundry detergent and cleaning supplies and, if anyone has a pet carrier they are not using please, think about donating it to the shelter.

Don’t forget about our low-cost spay/neuter program through the shelter. The next date for the clinic is June 27.

For further information contact the shelter at 743-3071 or come by the shelter during open hours Tuesday-Saturday from 1-5:30 p.m. The shelter is located at 185 N. Industrial Drive, Erwin.