WINCHESTER, Ore. -- Parvo Virus has been affecting dogs around Douglas County, and another incident has occurred with a littler of puppies from Saving Grace, prompting officials to stress the importance of vaccinations.
Parvo has become a growing problem in the area, as less people reportedly get their dogs vaccinated.
A recent litter of puppies that were fostered out from Saving Grace came down with the disease.
With the shelter's take-in policy, cases like this can happen. "Because we accept every dog and cat from the public regardless of health or temperament, there are occasions when animals are brought to us that have Parvo or other health issues," said Wendy Kang, Executive Director of Saving Grace.
The shelter vaccinates every animal when they get to the facility, but the Parvo test they give before fostering can be ineffective. "We did test the puppies when they came in, they tested negative for Parvo, but unfortunately, that test won't show positive until symptoms are starting," said Kang.
Melva Mackey fostered some of the dogs before they became sick, and says it was an emotional experience. "You go through cycles, and at first, I felt really angry because of course, we have pets at home. So, they were introduced to Parvo where they wouldn't have been if I weren't a foster parent," said Mackey. "I think I felt guilty, I felt really bad because the litter that we had was just adorable."
In over five years of fostering animals from Saving Grace, Mackey has never seen a case of Parvo.
All of her pets were up to date on their vaccinations, so they didn't become sick, but it did give her a scare.
She says her frustration is not with the shelter, but with people who don't take proper care of their animals. "As a pet owner, it's our job if we don't want to have a litter, that we spay and neuter our pets," she said. "Then, if we do have that unplanned litter, to be sure that we care for them and that we vaccinate them."
Unfortunately, in this case the puppies were too sick and had to be put to sleep.
Saving Grace officials hope this will serve as a reminder about why it is so important to have your dogs vaccinated. Not only is it important for your dog to have vaccinations, but also be up to date on any booster shots.
For more information on Parvo or how to protect your pet, contact your local veterinarian.