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AHS: Time for pets to get distemper, Parvo vaccines

PHOENIX — The Arizona Humane Society is pushing pet owners to get their animal’s shots updated before the Valley heads into summer.

In 2012, AHS saw a rise in the number of animals being diagnosed with distemper and Parvo.

“Last year was kind of a banner year,” said Dr. Kathleen Croteau, a Humane Society veterinarian. “More so in distemper than in the Parvo. We did see kind of a record year with this distemper virus coming around and affecting dogs of all ages.”

Croteau said the virus seems to start up at this time of year, when Arizona is transitioning from cooler to warmer temperatures. The viruses will have less of an impact on animals if the Valley heats up sooner. She said the fact that it’s now May, and the first cases of the virus are just showing up, is a “good sign.”

The viruses usually show up first in puppies, but Croteau said owners need to make sure their dog has its shots no matter what its age is.

“It’s very important for these animals to go through a series of vaccines, usually starting about six weeks of age and continuing until they’re about five months of age,” she said. “If it’s an adult dog that hasn’t received their vaccine yet, we always recommend that they get theirs first, followed up by a booster three or four weeks later.”

The Arizona Humane Society has vaccination clinics every Friday. Locations, times and more information is available on the organization’s website or by calling 602-997-7585.