BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Unity K9 Express Rescue cancelled its free distemper and parvo vaccine clinic scheduled for Saturday and rescheduled it for the following Saturday, Jan. 22.
The rescue said over the past four months it had seen more than 28 dogs test positive for distemper and has had to euthanize nearly half of them.
Unity K9 said it also currently has two dogs, both nursing moms, with distemper, has sent 20 to 30 dogs to other rescues in California and has spent more than $30,000 in veterinary care due to the disease.
This announcement comes as the Bakersfield Animal Care Center announced it will no longer be taking dogs due to a distemper outbreak.
Unity K9 said the distemper vaccine is very effective against the virus.
The vaccine clinic is for all residents in zip codes 93301, 93304, 93305, 93306, 93307, 93308 of Arvin and Lamont.
It will be a drive-thru or walk-up at F & M Fabrics Parking Lot & Frontage Road at 2954 Niles Street from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Distemper is highly contagious and airborne. It can easily be transmitted when dogs cough or sneeze or on shoes, clothing, by touching multiple dogs and coming in contact with body fluids, according to the rescue.
Symptoms include coughing and sneezing, which can look like Kennel Cough or when combined with nasal discharge or goopy eyes could look like mycoplasma or pneumonia, the rescue said. The rescue also said the gastrointestinal symptoms look like parvo, worms, or parasites and while testing and treating for these other common ailments Distemper is slowly taking over.
Unity K9 said often when dogs are finally tested for distemper, it is too late. Test results take a week to 10 days to to come back and usually the dogs develop neurological symptoms eventually resulting in seizures, according to the rescue.