BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The deadly viral and contagious canine disease known as distemper spreads across our county but a local group hosts a free vaccine clinic against the disease every month.

Saving canine lives. That’s the goal for Unity K9 Outreach and Rescue as they give out free parvo and distemper vaccines to the community.

Unity K9 gives out hundreds of vaccines each event because they want to save canine lives and stop the spread of distemper.

Some people say distemper is like COVID but it’s for dogs. It’s viral, extremely contagious, and deadly. The difference though is there is no cure for distemper.

“Right now with the distemper outbreak in Kern County these are absolutely necessary,” Dawn Romero with Unity K9 Outreach and Rescue said. “We have to get all of our owned pets vaccinated and up to date… because distemper is not just in the shelters, it’s in the community.”

The issue is serious and people from across the city think so too.

“As humans we want to make sure we have our vaccinations not just to protect ourselves but to protect those that we care about and friends and so forth,” Eddie Gutierrez a dog owner at the event said. “This is the same with our pets we wanna make sure they are fully vaccinated.”

The vaccines aren’t cheap. To put on a single free vaccine clinic for the community requires about $1,500 in donations.

“We are looking for donations and sponsors that can help us to continue to do the clinics because obviously it’s a big need and we want people to be able to vaccinate their dogs,” Romero said.

When we last spoke with Unity K9, they had already given out more than 300 vaccinations. They even had to leave and get more vaccinations for the rest of the event. They said they are on track of breaking their all time record of vaccinations given at one of these events.

Their next free vaccination event will be on February 12th.