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Another round of free pet vaccination clinics set amid distemper outbreak

Hill Country Humane Society staff care for a dog during a brutal canine distemper outbreak at the facility. Courtesy photo

The Hill Country Humane Society has been caring for sick dogs around the clock amid an outbreak of the deadly canine distemper virus. But its effort to curb the disease’s spread isn’t contained within the walls of its kennels. The organization is hosting another set of free vaccination clinics for pet owners across the Highland Lakes.

The first this week is Wednesday, June 26, at the Burnet County Fairgrounds, 1301 Houston Clinton Drive in Burnet. The second is Thursday at Granite Shoals’ Quarry Park, 2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road. Both are from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

The clinics will inoculate dogs against canine distemper, which has no cure once it is contracted, and other dangerous viruses such as parvovirus. Cats will be vaccinated against an array of diseases, including panleukopenia. Both can get a free rabies vaccination and a $10 microchip.

The Hill Country Humane Society has been battling canine distemper since an infected dog was brought in from the Kingsland area on June 3

Canine distemper is a particularly deadly and contagious virus that can kill up to 50 percent of adult dogs and 80 percent of puppies that have been infected. A vaccination is the only sure way to protect a pet from the disease. 

Special precautions will be in place at the vaccination clinics to ensure the virus is not spread among visitors. Pets and their owners must remain in their vehicles at all times, cats must be kept in carriers, and carpooling is not recommended.

The Hill Country Humane Society aims to vaccinate 500 pets at each clinic with the help of donated vaccinations from Petco Love, a nonprofit animal welfare organization connected to the popular pet store chain.

“It’s heart-wrenching to witness the impact of distemper on both our pets and our community,” wrote Hill Country Humane Society staffer Kirsten Hocker in a media release announcing the clinics. “These free vaccination clinics are not just about treatment, but about proactive prevention. We’re here to ensure that every pet owner has the opportunity to protect their animal from such devastating diseases, and through these efforts, we strengthen the health of our entire community.”