Archived Story

Rabies clinic comes to rural communities

Published 11:42am Thursday, June 6, 2013

“People have survived rabies, but they usually have such tremendous brain damage from it that it’s not worth the risk. Most people, if you get rabies and you start showing the symptoms, you’re going to die. And it’s not a pleasant death,” said Dr. John Caldwell of Animal Care Center in Dadeville.

With this and other truths about rabies in mind, Caldwell holds several rabies clinic in rural areas that will feature a reduced rabies vaccination cost of $10, as mandated by the state.

“Any mammal can get rabies and some birds,” Caldwell said. “One of the things that prevents it, of course, is vaccination.”

Vaccination is required yearly for pets older than three months old – that’s every breed of dog and cat.

“Daviston and rural areas like that, there are no veterinarians in a reasonable distance there,” Caldwell said. “It’s difficult to travel long distances with (multiple pets).”

Rabies clinics will be held in these locations June 15:

Daviston Fire Department, 7:30–8:15 a.m.

New Site at Hall’s Propane, 8:30–9:15 a.m.

Perryville across from East Building Supply, 9:30–10 a.m.

A clinic will also be held June 22 at Walnut Hill Grocery from 7:30-8:15 a.m.

Although Caldwell said multiple clinics will offer the same special rate, he has been holding the rural clinics since 1982.

“I did it on the day I got married as a matter of fact,” Caldwell said. “We had already set the date for the vaccination, and so I went there early in the morning to Daviston and New Site.”

The majority of the time, rabies is spread by a bite, in which the rabies virus is in the saliva.

“There are some weird things that can happen, but 99 times out of 100 it’s from a bite,” Caldwell said. “We’ve had rabies cases in the county this year. Raccoons, bats, foxes, coyotes – they’re all out there, and they’re all capable of spreading rabies.”

A rabies vaccination takes about 15 seconds and the vaccine is good for a year. The vaccine is essential for the health and safety of humans as well as their pets.

“If you have an animal that has never been vaccinated, and you know it has been bit by an animal … we’ve had cases that an animal has to be euthanized,” Caldwell said. “If, on the other hand, it has been vaccinated, we usually boost it, and the vaccine is very effective – super effective. It’s been tested over and over again.”

Caldwell also warned people against contact with wild animals.

“Don’t do it. You don’t know what’s the matter with them,” Caldwell said.