Distemper in Kern, the push for canine vaccinations


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – The distemper outbreak in Kern County has prompted several shelters and dog rescue groups to euthanize infected dogs. As the fight to save shelter dogs continues, Kern’s animal lovers are stepping up to help.

The deadly canine viral disease known as distemper continues to plague Kern County. The Bakersfield Animal Care Center said the situation hasn’t gotten worse, but it’s still too early to celebrate.

Animals at the Bakersfield Animal Care Center are tested for distemper in order to separate and isolate those who are infected.

“We tested 50 dogs for distemper and 15 of those tests came back positive. This is good news, bad news. The thing is, we now know who gets distemper and who doesn’t, said Nicole Gitzke of the Bakersfield Animal Care Center.

The center must adopt dogs to make more space. To encourage people, the center has suspended dog adoption fees for the rest of the month. Since our last conversation with the center, 20 large dogs have been adopted while five others have been placed in foster care.

“The good news is that we’re getting a lot of dogs out of the shelter into foster homes, into rescues, people out to adopt,” Gitzke said. “It really helps us make room for the animals in the shelter and that’s what we absolutely need right now.”

But the problem of distemper remains. The answer is to get your dog vaccinated.

“Well, over the last six months we’ve seen a massive increase in dogs with distemper and we’re not just in shelters but also in the community,” said Dawn Romero of Unity K9. ExpressRescue. “Our shelters are struggling to bring distemper outbreaks under control, not just in the shelter, but in the community, and vaccinations are the only thing that can stop that.”

Unity K9 will be hosting a free drive and walk vaccination event to Parvo and Distemper this Saturday.

Residents of Bakersfield, Arvin and Lamont can bring their dogs on Saturday, January 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the F&M Fabrics parking lot, located at 2954 Niles St. The clinic will be a drive-in, walk-in event.

Residents who live in these ZIP codes can take their dogs for vaccinations: 93301, 93304, 93305, 93306, 93307, 93308, Arvin and Lamont, according to Unity K9 Express.

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