I’ve seen several stories on social media related to rabies scares recently. The reports have ranged from the Northeastern United States to much closer to home in Middle Georgia. While I didn’t take the time to research whether these were fact or fiction (everything we read online is true, right?), it is important to be reminded that this is a very real threat. Those of us who own pets should be especially aware of this disease. Next month, Macon-Bibb County 4-H is offering an affordable rabies vaccination clinic, giving you the opportunity to catch up on this responsibility to your pet.
Rabies, a common public health concern, is a viral infection that is spread through the saliva of infected animals. It can be spread to most mammals, particularly dogs and cats. The virus affects the central nervous system of a host, causing symptoms such as convulsions and paralysis. Rabies is almost always fatal in infected animals. Because it is easily spread through saliva, the virus is commonly spread from wild animals to household pets by means of a bite. However, bites are not the only means of transmission. Rabies has also been known to spread by other animal contact, such as scratches.
Georgia law requires dogs and cats to receive yearly rabies vaccinations by a licensed veterinarian. Since the 1940s, the number of humans contracting rabies has significantly declined because of rabies vaccinations and control programs. According the Centers for Disease of Control and Prevention, over the last 100 years, rabies in the United States has changed dramatically. More than 90 percent of all animal cases reported annually to CDC now occur in wildlife; a shift from the 1960s. Vaccinations have practically eliminated the domestic dog as a carrier of rabies.
Macon-Bibb 4-H is offering its third annual mobile rabies clinic as a service to our community. For many people, the cost of the rabies vaccine in addition to the cost of an office visit can be a limiting factor. It is our hope that the rabies clinic’s convenient locations and affordable vaccines will help families fulfill their responsibilities as pet owners without putting a strain on their wallets.
The clinic will be held on Sept. 9. The vaccinations, being administered by a local veterinarian, will only cost $10 per pet. The clinic will be offered at three different locations across the county:
▪ 8-8:45 a.m.: Rutland ACE Hardware, 6173 Houston Road
▪ 9:15-10 a.m.: Sonny Carter Elementary School, 5910 Zebulon Road
▪ 10:30-11:15 a.m.: Hutchings Career Center/SOAR Academy, 2011 Riverside Drive
Cash (no large bills) and checks will be accepted. Please mark your calendars and plan to pay us a visit. For more information, call the Bibb County Cooperative Extension Office at 478-751-6338, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Macon-Bibb County Cooperative Extension agent Karol Kelly at email@example.com.