Pets From Humane Shelters Need Followup Care

Smokey came from a humane shelter a little over a year ago and never got the medical care he needed. His family was under the mistaken impression that he was “finished.”

As a participant in a humane society program, he could have come to us to find out exactly what he needed. For free. We are one of thirty or so practices regionally who provides a free examination for adopted pets within the first seven days of leaving the shelter.

Smokey had neuter surgery at the shelter and a single vaccination for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (a viral upper respiratory disease), Calicivirus (which causes a different upper respiratory tract infection in cats) and Panleukopenia (a disease of the bone marrow which suppresses production of white blood cells). However, a single vaccination is useless, and must be boostered on a schedule of not less than three weeks and not more than four weeks from the date of the first vaccination. Patients who go beyond that four-week point cause the immune system to “forget” that he had the first vaccination, requiring a restart from the beginning.

Also, our shelter lacks the funds to give the Feline Leukemia Virus vaccination, so Smokey has to start from scratch on that series, too.

We were unable to begin the vaccinations today, despite Smokey being more than a year overdue, because he had developed a skin condition and we want his immune system’s full attention focused on healing that. Therefore, we will see Smokey again in two weeks and if he is adequately healed we will begin vaccinations then.

Just because your pet came from a shelter and has been spayed or neutered, don’t assume that he is “finished” or protected. See your pet’s doctor and get the straight information from him.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.

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