Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Observations on the Vaccine Clinic

As I mentioned in last Sunday's post, I was volunteering some time to help the Lehigh Valley Animal Food Bank with their vaccine clinic in Bethlehem, PA. 

I've only done a vaccine clinic once before and it was a free rabies clinic in NJ. 

This was a little different in that we were offering more than just rabies vaccines and it wasn't free, just a lower cost than what would be found at most veterinary practices.  

I don't know how many animals we vaccinated today but it was pretty steady for most of the time we were there (1-4pm). We had more dogs than cats of course (kitties, while the number one pet in numbers in the US are given the short end of the veterinary care straw.)

First of all, there are some great people with hearts of gold that volunteer for them. They truly want what's in the animal's best interest - meaning, they want the dog or cat to get what it needs and in some cases, that may mean giving away something.  They also use this as an opportunity to try to educate these people as well. 

Many of these pets were not spayed or neutered. And they were adults (1+ yrs of age). They were informed about several low cost spay/neuter options for them. They were also informed about the HUGE numbers of pit-bulls and other animals in shelters that will never get homes and simply be euthanized due to lack of space.  It doesn't matter how nice or cute they are. There is a limited number of resources and unfortunately, pit-bulls have an undeserved reputation and thus, many people shy away from even adopting them. That AND the "oh I just want to breed her once" mentality or the machismo of keeping the dog's balls.  Yep, it's like that!

I was able to lend my expertise on a few things and I was glad to be able to help. 

My biggest concern is that while I feel vaccines are important - notably rabies due to public health issues and the high incidence of rabies in our regional wildlife and feral cat populations - a physical exam is far more important. But I realize that's me being an idealist. It's just that sometimes people get "hung up" on vaccines.I know many times in practice, people have come in with a vomiting dog that isn't eating and they are like "he's overdue for his vaccines and we'd like to get them while he's here."  As if having them will ensure their pet's health. It will help but I think of all the dental disease, heart murmurs and lumps I could've found. I know - then what? They can't pursue a work up. 

This great group will be holding another vaccine clinic - same place and time in June and Sept.  

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