Petco Love will provide 1 million vaccines to animal welfare partners to distribute to family pets in need
Petco Love is taking action to help end life-threatening diseases, preventable by vaccines, in our beloved pets. The foundation will allocate 1 million free pet vaccines to its existing community-based animal welfare partners to distribute to family pets in need.
With August as National Immunisation Awareness Month, a campaign to highlight the importance of vaccinations for people, it also serves as a reminder of the critical importance of vaccinating our pets.
According to experts, rabies, parvovirus, and distemper in dogs and panleukopenia in cats are the top diseases preventable by vaccines impacting our pets nationally, and estimates are that nearly 30% of pet owners don’t regularly bring their companions to see a veterinarian at least once a year.
“Although many pet parents already vaccinate their pets with these core canine and feline vaccines, many cannot afford or are unaware just how important this standard preventative care is to ensure the health and longevity of our beloved pets,” explained Dr Whitney Miller, Petco’s Chief Veterinarian.
“While vaccines have been available for decades and are highly effective in preventing deadly diseases, the best way to ensure overall pet health and wellness is to make them readily available for all.”
“It is heartbreaking when any pet suffers or dies from a disease that could have been prevented. It is further exacerbated when unvaccinated pets come into busy shelter kennels, where these deadly diseases can spread quickly, resulting in multiple deaths, skyrocketing expenses, and hindering saving pet lives,” said Susanne Kogut, Petco Love President. “By creating greater awareness and making this crucial preventative care more accessible to those not currently receiving these life-saving vaccines, we can prevent the dangerous spread of disease.”
A 2010 University of Florida study tested dogs and cats upon intake into one Florida shelter and found that 65% of dogs, and almost all cats, had insufficient levels of protection for canine parvovirus and distemper and feline panleukopenia, suggesting they had not received proper vaccinations.
According to Julie Levy, the Fran Marino Professor of Shelter Medicine Education at the University of Florida, “This study clearly revealed that a significant population of the community’s most vulnerable pets, those more likely to find themselves at an animal shelter, are not receiving needed preventative vaccines, which makes them susceptible to these deadly diseases. We believe making pet vaccines and vaccination clinics more accessible, affordable and convenient is essential to ensuring more pets are vaccinated, which will absolutely save pet lives.”
Initial distribution of vaccines will begin immediately to existing Petco Love animal welfare partners with additional grant incentives available to offset the costs to organisations administering the vaccines.
“Increasing vaccine clinics in many areas of the country like Texas, where it seems communities are disproportionately impacted by these deadly pet viruses, is vital,” said Aaron Johnson, Director of Montgomery County Animal Services, a Petco Love partner organisation that held a clinic late July that vaccinated 700 pets in one day. “While it was a long day for staff and volunteers, the demand for free and low-cost vaccines and preventative care is great.”
On 27 June, Petco Love partner El Paso Animal Services, and the City of El Paso, hosted a unique community clinic that served close to 700 pets and offered both pet vaccines and COVID vaccines for people.
With this effort, Petco Love aims to encourage more clinics in high-impact areas and identify other distribution channels to assist family pets in their time of need. Petco Love’s commitment to providing free pet vaccines via local animal welfare partners, in addition to regular Vetco vaccination services offered at Petco Pet Care Centers nationwide, and programs like Petco’s Vital Care membership, which includes unlimited routine vet exams, is intended to reach widespread vaccination levels, and help eliminate the spread of deadly viruses in pets.