HSOG hosts free dog vaccination clinic
People can get their dogs vaccinated for free next week at the Humane Society of Greenwood.
Amid spikes in canine parvovirus and canine influenza, the Humane Society of Greenwood is hosting a free vaccination clinic from 1 to 5 p.m. May 18 at 2820 Airport Road, Greenwood.
Veterinarians Dr. Caitlin Cochran and Dr. Michael Walden Jr., along with four veterinary technicians, will help administer vaccines that cover distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus and parainfluenza.
The vaccines, along with microchips that will help identify dogs, are provided free of charge through grants from the Greenwood County Community Foundation and the Petco Love foundation. People seeking vaccines have to register for the event, and can do so online at bit.ly/42JRskE, or in Spanish at bit.ly/44Q6gA1. People who can’t access the internet to register can call 864-223-2498 for questions or help registering.
“Really, I think those grants were in response to our outbreak of distemper, showing the need for vaccinations in the community,” Connie Mawyer, HSOG executive director, said.
Following a 2021 distemper outbreak that shut down the county animal shelter for a while as staff adapted to contain the spread, HSOG developed new procedures to screen and isolate animals to reduce the risk of exposure to illnesses. Clinic Manager Jay Williams said those procedures have come in handy as illness spreads through the community again.
“Four dogs in about the last week have been over a year old and didn’t show symptoms immediately,” Williams said. “Soon after, they tested positive for parvo, and they didn’t make it. We had 10 to 12 puppies come in with it who didn’t make it.”
There’s no cure for parvovirus, Mawyer said, the best way to prevent it is to vaccinate against it. Especially with dogs testing positive without showing symptoms, Williams said there’s a danger of strays interacting with pets and spreading the illness without people knowing.
HSOG hosted two previous vaccination clinics. The first saw about 80 people attend, while the second had more than 200 lined up to get their dogs vaccinated. The volume was a surprise to shelter staff, who say they’re better trained and prepared to handle bigger crowds this time.
In February, HSOG staff traveled to Charleston to help with “Vax-A-Palooza,” which was a record-breaking vaccination event that immunized more than 2,000 dogs and cats with the help of shelter and rescue staff statewide.
“We learned so much from working with those vets about how we can be more efficient than we were,” said Samantha Brooks, HSOG director of operations.
Requiring registration ahead of the event was one step to manage and prepare for the crowds. Pet owners bringing in four or more dogs will be asked to wait until 3:30 p.m., so staff can handle groups of dogs safely and in an orderly fashion without holding up the line.
“It’s really cool not just to learn in Charleston but to implement it and see that it works and helps the animals,” Williams said. “That’s why we’re here, to help the animals and be a community resource.”
Contact staff writer Damian Dominguez at 864-634-7548 or follow on Twitter @IJDDOMINGUEZ.