Rabies clinic set each Saturday

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 5, 2005

The Selma times-journal

Bell, an overly friendly and energetic St. Bernard, took her rabies shot like a true champ. She barely even noticed as Susan Stinson from Northside Animal Hospital pinched a small portion of her skin and gave the injection in one quick movement.

After watching just how easy it was, Lacy, Bell’s buddy and housemate, also showed a nonchalant attitude when it was her turn for the shot.

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In less than 10 minutes the process was over and Bell and Lacy were on their way back home to play.

Stinson and the others from the rabies clinic, who were stationed outside Byrd Elementary School on Saturday, then moved on to their next location in their effort to vaccinate dogs and cats from the deadly disease.

Every Saturday until July 16, the rabies clinic will be traveling to different locations across the county to vaccinate pets.

B.L. Youngblood, D.V.M., the rabies inspector for Dallas County, said the county’s Health Department sponsors the clinic each summer.

“The clinics make it available to have dogs and cats vaccinated cheaper than at the animal hospital,” Youngblood said.

Youngblood said the rabies vaccinations cost $8 at the clinic and $10 at a local veterinary clinic.

“It is required by law that all dogs and cats three months of age and older be vaccinated,” Youngblood said.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, Southeast Alabama has the greatest number of confirmed animal rabies cases in the state.

This is at least partly due to a decline in the number of pet owners who have their animals vaccinated, according to Dr. Donald Williamson, state health officer.

“We are troubled about this decline in protection of the pet population. We are especially concerned about the movement of rabies toward the largest urban area of the state,” Williamson said in a press release.

Youngblood said wild animals, such as raccoons, bats, foxes and skunks, are responsible for transmitting the virus to domestic animals and humans.

“The domestic pet is the barrier between wildlife and people,” Youngblood said. “A wild animal with rabies bites a pet, then the pet can bite a human. This is usually the transfer by which wild rabies enters a human.

Youngblood said rabies could be fatal for both humans and animals if not treated before symptoms of the disease begin to show.

“Any warm-blooded animals are susceptible to rabies, including cows and horses,” Youngblood said.

He added that it is not required by law for cows and horses to be vaccinated for rabies, but advises owners to do so.

“Cows and horses are very valuable to their owners, so it’s a good idea to have it done,” Youngblood said.

The rabies clinics will be held every Saturday, except the July 4 weekend, until July 16.

To find out the schedule of the next clinic, contact Northside Animal Hospital at 872-2355.