Fatal diseases are being spread from animal to animal, and not just within the shelters.
Alachua County Animal Services vaccinates all incoming animals, something the animals' previous owners frequently hadn't done.
"It is showing that a lot of people are trying to save money on their budget by not vaccinating their pets," said Animal Services Director David Flagler. "As a result, many of the animals out in the community are getting sick."
A 2007 University of Florida study showed that up to 60 percent of the animals entering area shelters arrive with no previous vaccinations. Officials say that number may be even higher now.
Even though vaccines can be pricey, they're cheaper than paying to nurse your pet back to health after it's already sick.
"Certainly it's much more cost effective to have a dog vaccinated when it's healthy than to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars trying to save a dog after it's been infected," said UF College of Veterinary Medicine Dr. Julie Levy.
Flagler says the solution to the problem is very simple.
"When your veterinarian recommends a vaccine for your pets, you jump for it and say yes, that's exactly what i want my pet to have," said Flagler.
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