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You are here: Home Opinion Letters to the editor LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: March 26


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Canine distemper making resurgence

To the editor:

As many may have heard, there have been several confirmed cases of canine distemper virus in Danville within the last few weeks.  All cases thus far have been fatal.   

A larger outbreak is occurring in Northeast Tennessee as well.  In the past few years there also have been confirmed outbreaks in the Martinsville area and Southwest Virginia.  

Many of these have occurred at animal shelters.  This is not because of something that they are doing wrong, but is most likely due to the high concentration of unvaccinated dogs at these facilities.  

Canine distemper is a highly contagious and often fatal viral disorder affecting the respiratory, gastrointestinal and neurologic systems of all canines.  Symptoms include fever, coughing, sneezing, poor appetite, breathing difficulty, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and other nervous system problems.  It is spread from dog to dog in saliva and respiratory secretions from coughing and sneezing.  

The canine distemper virus can be carried and spread by other animals such as ferrets, skunks and raccoons.  This is particularly important to know since the symptoms can resemble those of rabies.  

There is no specific treatment, and since it is a virus, antibiotics are not effective.  Treatment is aimed at supportive care and includes IV fluids and medications to control the vomiting and diarrhea.  Sometimes medicine is necessary to control the seizures.  

If a dog does recover, it often has lifelong nervous system problems.  The good news is that there is a vaccine for canine distemper that is quite effective.  

The vaccine is recommended as a series of shots in puppies, beginning at 6 weeks of age.  Adult dogs should receive booster vaccines as well.  

Canine distemper was thought to be nearly eradicated due to successful vaccination programs.  However, it does appear to be making resurgence to the point that pet owners need to be aware of the symptoms and how it is spread.  

If you do not know if your dog or puppy has been vaccinated against the canine distemper virus, I encourage you to check with your veterinarian.

Jonathan Collins, DVM

Halifax County Veterinary Center


Thanks for keeping Cluster Springs Early Learning Center open

To the editor:

I would like to personally say thank you to the members of the Halifax County School Board for agreeing to keep Cluster Springs Early Learning Center open. This means a lot to the community. 

If you have a child who will be 4 years old by the end of September, I strongly encourage you to call and have them screened for pre-K. The school number is 572-4121. 

Let’s fill those classes up for the 2014-15 school year. 


Dotti Womack

South Boston


Soup Kitchen seeks donations 

To the editor:

The Missionary United Soup Kitchen is raising funds for ongoing operations. We are asking for your support to help make this program as much of a success in the future as it has been in the past. 

Currently the program is serving over 4,000 meals each month, and we are seeing a rise in the number of people needing meals. 

Please help us to “help others.” This is a community program in which everyone gets to play a role. Remember that the person needing a meal could be you.

For more information, call 575-7211 or 579-4208 or come by and witness this ministry in action for yourself.

Pastor Jean Harris

South Boston


Makes me sick

To the editor:

When I read that some group called Sen. Frank Ruff racist, it made me sick. Frank is the most non-racist man I have ever met.

If they just realized that this kind of accusation just makes things worse. If you know Frank Ruff, you would know how Frank has worked for all the people in the 15th Senate district.

These people know that they cannot beat Frank at the polls, so they try to discredit him with a bunch of non-truths.

My opinion of this is that it will only make Frank stronger.

Please make yourself heard. It is time we spoke up loud and often.

Thank you.

Dan Newkirk

South Boston


A must read

To the editor:

I would like to urge everyone especially seniors to read The AARP Bulletin for March 2014 and especially read their 10 tests we need to skip.

If these tests are more harmful than helpful, why have we needed them in the past, and now we don’t?

Are we too old and going to die anyway, so why spend the money on us? Is that the reason?

Why is AARP now promoting this? 

They were a big supporter of Obamacare. AARP has always been out front, (supposedly) supporting 50 year olds and older. Now I wonder how much AARP has been protecting the seniors? 

It sounds like to me AARP has been lining their pockets on the back of us seniors.

The following are the 10 tests we are being asked to skip:

Nuclear stress tests and other imaging tests after heart procedures

 Yearly electrocardiogram or exercise stress tests

 PSA to screen for prostate cancer

 PET scans to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease

  X-ray, CT scan or MRI for lower back pain

 Yearly pap tests

 Bone density scans for women before age 65 and men before age 70

 Follow-up ultrasounds for small ovarian cysts

 Colonoscopy after age 75

 Yearly physical

We all need to ask these questions? 

Why now are these doctors, Obamacare and AARP all of a sudden telling us it’s okay to skip these tests? And is it just a coincidence? 

These are questions that need to be asked and answered.

Norma Chaney 

South Boston