Hundreds of dogs get parvovirus vaccine at free clinic in Springfield

Big turnout after 10 cases of the virus were reported to the state since July.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – 22News has been working for you with details on the parvovirus that’s killing dogs. We found out how many families brought their dogs to a free vaccine clinic in Springfield on Saturday.

2-month-old Spot’s owners never want him to get the parvovirus. They lost a dog to the disease that quickly spreads, via dogs’ bodily fluids. At least 10 cases were reported to the state since July.

“Neighborhoods that may be reporting it may be the people that can go to the vets and you may have other neighborhoods where they just simply have not gone to the vets and you don’t know it’s in that neighborhood. I always say, ‘Assume it’s everywhere,’” said Second Chance Animal Shelter Executive Director Sheryl Blancato.

Through donations, the Second Chance Animal Shelter was able to host a clinic Saturday in Springfield to offer free vaccines to the first 500 dogs.

There’s a great need for the parvovirus vaccine in the Greater Springfield area. The event was supposed to start at 10 Saturday morning, but when organizers got there at 9, there were already 50 people and their dogs in line waiting to get in, and that line stayed long all morning. By 10:30, more than 200 dogs were vaccinated.

“I think with all the reports lately, I think everybody was just very concerned about getting it done and being that it’s a free clinic, obviously it beats going to the vet,” said Maureen Manfredi of Springfield, owner of 12-year-old Lucky the Jack Russell mix.

The parvovirus vaccine isn’t required by law. Some owners told 22News, it is offered at the veterinarian, but it’s an added expense they simply can’t afford. That’s why they waited in the long line for the free shot.

“A friend of ours had two dogs they had to put down because of parvo…Wouldn’t want to have them to put them down. We want to keep them. They’re my pets, our family. Want to take care of them and nurture and love them. That’s why I have them,” said Cheryl Ostrowski of Springfield.

Organizers said it’s a common misconception that house dogs are safe from the virus. They said that’s not true because owners can get it on their shoes while walking through grass, unknowingly infecting their unvaccinated dogs with the deadly disease.

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