City offers low-cost rabies vaccinations

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By LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Friday, May 19, 2017

It's time to make sure Rex, Spot and Fido are caught up on their rabies shots.

Rocky Mount is offering a rabies vaccination clinic Saturday at the city's former animal shelter.

“Vaccinations are required by law,” said Willie Boykin, the city's animal control supervisor. “It is important for pet owners to participate in the Rabies Vaccination Clinic because every animal that is 4 months of age or older must have a rabies shot.”

Rabies — a viral disease that affects the central nervous system — can infect any warm-blooded animal. The disease is almost always fatal, and animals showing symptoms usually die within five days, according to the American Humane Society.

The rabies virus is spread by contact with the saliva of an infected animal. Transmission is usually through a bite wound, but the disease has been known to spread through a scratch or an existing open wound. There are one or two cases of human rabies each year in the U.S. and around 400 to 500 cases of a domesticated dog or cat contracting the deadly disease.

“Rabies is a deadly disease,” Boykin said. “If contracted, it could kill you because there is no known cure.”

The clinic will run from 9 a.m. to noon. The former animal shelter is at 1101 N. Church St. Similar events are held often in order to provide safety for animals, and ultimately humans, from exposure to the disease, Boykin said.

The first rabies shot is good for one year provided the next shot is given prior to its expiration. If the first shot doesn't expire, the second shot will last for three years, Boykin said.

As many as 300 shots have been administered in previous clinics. The first Rabies Vaccination Clinic was held in the fall of 2003.

“The idea to have a clinic was prompted by the state law that every dog, cat and ferret must be vaccinated for rabies,” Boykin said. “If every animal were vaccinated for rabies, it would protect the citizens of Rocky Mount and the surrounding areas.”

The clinic is for cats and dogs only, four months and older. Pets must be on leashes or in carriers. Cost is $5 per pet, cash only. Animal adoptions are also available.

For more information on the Rabies Vaccination Clinic, call Boykin at 252-972-1390.

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