RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- Deadly dog viruses like parvo can spread quickly, so keeping dogs vaccinated is especially important at animal shelters but most dogs don't come in with vaccination records.
"80 plus percent of our animals that we get in here come from animal services or a rural animal control agency and we just don't know what their history is," said SPCA of Northern Nevada Executive Director Tom Jacobs.
Jacobs said it used to be standard to vaccinate every dog for parvovirus, distemper and hepatitis just in case, until they became the first clinic in northern Nevada to use VacciCheck to screen for those antibodies.
"We're ahead of the game," Jacobs said. "We're jumping way ahead of it to make sure that animal is healthy and safe."
Biogal Labs out of Israel developed the technology. Marketing Vice President Lenny Small said it's being used in 30 countries and was approved in the US two years ago.
"It's a real paradigm shift in terms of what we have now been able to do," he said.
Small said with a small blood sample and a testing kit, they can check for the diseases quickly and easily.
"We're able to determine within 21 minutes which dogs have been vaccinated, which dogs haven't been vaccinated and which dogs according to the symptoms they're carrying might also be carrying the disease," Small said.
Spectrum Labs heads US distribution of VacciCheck and CFO Marty Locke said this is an important tool for veterinarians too, especially for annual booster shots.
"If they have adequate antibody and protection you don't and should not automatically be vaccinating every year," he said.
Locke said over-vaccination can be dangerous.
"There's been some literature and research that suggests too much vaccination at the same time has some serious side effects and can be very harmful to the pet," Locke said.
Right now VacciCheck is only available for dogs, but they expect that the USDA will approve the version for cats in the very near future.