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Rabies clinics offer affordable vaccines

Georgia law requires that dogs and cats be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian.
Georgia law requires that dogs and cats be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Getty Images/iStockphoto

As I look anxiously toward fall — whether I’m jumping in piles of leaves with my kids or begging for a peaceful minute to catch some college football (Go Georgia!), I know the furry members of my family won’t be far from my side.

With all of the joys of pet ownership also comes the responsibilities of food, water, shelter and visits to the veterinarian. Macon-Bibb County 4-H will make it easy for us to check one of those duties, rabies vaccination, off of the list this fall.

Rabies, a common public health concern, is a viral infection that is spread through the saliva of infected animals. It is able to infect most mammals. 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 also has been known to spread by other animal contact, such as scratches.

Georgia law requires that dogs and cats be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Since the 1940s, the number of humans contracting rabies has significantly declined because of rabies vaccinations and control programs. According to the Centers for Disease of Control and Prevention (CDC), during the last 100 years, rabies in the United States has changed dramatically. More than 90 percent of all animal cases reported annually to the CDC now occur in wildlife — a shift from the 1960’s. Vaccinations have practically eliminated the domestic dog as a carrier of rabies.

Macon-Bibb County 4-H is providing its second 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 the veterinarian’s office visit is a limiting factor. It is our hope that the 4-H 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 mobile clinic will be held Sept. 17. The affordable rabies vaccination, being administered by a local veterinarian, will only cost $10 per pet. The mobile rabies clinic will be at four different locations across the county.

▪ 8-8:30 a.m.: Rutland ACE Hardware, 6173 Houston Road

▪ 9-9:30 a.m.: Skyview Elementary, 5700 Fulton Mill Road

▪ 10-10:30 a.m.: Sonny Carter Elementary, 5910 Zebulon Road

▪ 11-11:30 a.m.: Hutchings Career Center, 2011 Riverside Drive

Cash (no large bills) and checks will be accepted. For more information, call the Bibb County Cooperative Extension Office at 478-751-6338, or e-mail jhartman@uga.edu.

Upcoming Cooperative Extension Events

Master Gardeners of Central Georgia Fall Garden Plant Sale: Noon-5 p.m. Sept. 22, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 23 and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 24, State Farmers Market, 2055 Eisenhower Parkway. Master Gardeners will be available to answer gardening questions. Admission and parking are free. For more information, email askamg@mgcg.org or call 478-751-6338.

ServSafe Manager Training: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 19-20, Macon-Bibb County Health Department, 171 Emery Highway. The Servsafe certification exam will be administered. The cost is $140 and includes the 6th Edition ServSafe Manager book. For more information, email thomaskj@uga.edu or call 478-751-6338.