Diane Macomber, Columnist
Even the most health-conscious pet owner will agree that when our furry and feathered friends start a family, we want to make sure they’re safe for our kids and ourselves.
You may have read about the salmonella epidemic in 2017 that killed dogs and sickened more than 150 people and linked to raw-salmon fed to pets. I keep one bunny (Birdie) and three cats (Keiko, Schick, Gabby) in my office. You may ask yourself, if it can happen to these pets, can it happen to us?
This past August I was interviewed by Katie Couric about my effort to vaccinate my animals against parvovirus. The interview prompted some great questions about why we don’t vaccinate our pets against parvovirus.
All of this drew in leading veterinarians in the pet industry to talk about dog and cat vaccines for parvovirus. I’m happy to report that this topic was given further exposure in a New York Times article about an important nationwide research study underway at the University of Illinois Veterinary School.
Like many animal owners, I, too, worried about an outbreak of parvovirus in my household. Given that kitty Parvo is a primary risk factor in an outbreak of parvovirus in people, veterinarians worry that if we don’t vaccinate our pets, we may be exposing ourselves and our children to the disease.
Many people are probably thinking, Why don’t we just get a vaccine for parvovirus? The answer is straightforward: we haven’t found a vaccine that works for everyone.
The World Health Organization says, “‘Vaccine-like substances’ do not produce animal-specific antibodies that confer protection against more than 1 parvovirus.” In other words, because there are so many parvovirus types, the only way to be 100 percent sure of the kind of infection you have is to get the vaccine for each specific type. The last thing anyone wants to do is vaccinate for only one type of parvovirus and then learn you are getting a disease that others can get too.
Many people, however, are probably thinking, Why don’t we just get a vaccine for parvovirus? The answer is straightforward: we haven’t found a vaccine that works for everyone. That’s why we need to have a herd immunity against parvovirus. Right now, parvovirus is the second leading cause of animal mortality in North America after heartworm disease.
The best news is that with the available studies and information, and the Animal Health Foundation’s efforts to educate pet owners about the many preventative measures against parvovirus, there is now a much better understanding of the biology and viruses that cause parvovirus. We have also begun studying vaccination as the potential primary way to herd immunity.
Many animal owners are responding to these concerns by taking a look at their pet’s health and vaccinating them.
For instance, look at Avaira Platinum Complete disease-control vaccines and Avaira Blue Plus. If it’s cancer and you need to vaccinate a pet, there are also strong environmental links to follow, like a family’s natural environment or a pet’s diet, which can also affect a pet’s immune system.
And when veterinary care is needed, there are many options that provide good coverage without injections or surgery. For example, older dogs and cats can still be treated with intensive therapy.
My advice to you is to ask a vet about vaccinating your pet. It’s time to take that next step.