Parvovirus vaccine clinic held at American International College

Dozens of people and their dogs turned out for a drive-thru parvovirus vaccine clinic in Springfield on Wednesday.
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 3:15 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2022 at 6:21 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Dozens of people and their dogs turned out for a drive-thru parvovirus vaccine clinic in Springfield on Wednesday. The event comes following an outbreak of the disease in the area.

Carmen Morales has been looking to get her dog, Luna, a vaccine for parvovirus. At long last, she was able to finally get one for her three-month-old pup.

“It is so hard to get an appointment. After COVID, it’s very hard to get [my dogs] vaccines…[Luna’s] going to be more healthy. She’s going to be covered and protected,” Morales said.

On Wednesday, the Dakin Humane Society and Thomas J. O’Connor Adoption Center held a vaccination clinic on American International College’s tailgate field after a parvovirus outbreak has impacted dogs in Springfield. Both organizations reported at least 12 cases since early August.

Dakin Medical Director Rebecca Carroll told Western Mass News that this clinic was vital to have before things get worse.

“It spreads very rapidly, and without urgent intensive care, many dogs will pass away from the disease,” Carroll explained.

Parvovirus is a highly contagious gastrointestinal illness that is transmitted through ingested fecal matter, which can stick to an indoor environment. The main symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and not eating. It is deadly with puppies being the most likely to succumb to it if they do not receive the necessary care.

While Carroll said it is important for dogs to get vaccinated for this, she does warn the immunization will not work in certain circumstances.

“The vaccine is a very effective vaccine, but it does not work once the dogs are sick already with the disease. It doesn’t them from it once they’re sick…Even if they’ve been exposed a couple days ago and [parvovirus] is still brewing, the vaccine won’t stop that process,” Carroll noted.

The clinic was state-funded, meaning those who stopped by got the shots for free. With many cases out there, Carroll was pleased with the turnout.

“This is incredible that so many people are out there trying to take care of their dogs, doing what they can and coming here,” Carroll said.

Morales said it is crucial to keep Luna healthy, just like a parent should for a child.

“Our dogs are our babies. They’re like our kids. I got two and they’re my everything,” Morales added.

Dakin will host parvovirus vaccine clinics for three consecutive Fridays, beginning September 30 at 10 a.m. Those who got their dogs vaccinated on Wednesday are asked to bring them back for a booster in two to three weeks.

Upcoming clinics for Springfield residents at Dakin’s facility on Union Street in Springfield include:

  • Friday, September 30 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Friday, October 7 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Friday, October 14 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.