Local veterinarian to host rabies clinicPublished 5:54pm Friday, June 6, 2014
By Alethia Russell
Outlook Staff Writer
Dr. J.W. Caldwell of the Animal Care Center in Dadeville will host a rabies clinic June 14 at three sites. The clinic will be at Daviston Fire Department from 7:30 – 8:15 a.m., New Site – Hall Propane from 8:30 – 9:15 a.m., Perryville – Across from East Building Supply from 9:30 – 10 a.m.
Pet owners are asked to have their animals restrained in their vehicles, in a cage or pet carrier to prevent runaways.
Alabama state law requires all cats and dogs to be vaccinated for rabies at three months old. Pets should be vaccinated every one to three years, depending on the length of vaccination chosen. The County Rabies officer will cite violators.
Caldwell said rabies is an endemic disease, and it is carried by a number of animals in Alabama including raccoons, opossums, bats and skunks. However, any mammal can contract rabies including humans.
The rabies virus attacks the nervous system of the mammal, causing sensitivity to light, dementia and aggressive behavior among other symptoms.
Caldwell cautions residents to always report and be aware of signs of rabies.
“Animals will act strange,” Caldwell said. “For example, if a raccoon will come up to you in the middle of the day, when they’re normally shy, that’s the unusual behavior you should look for–not necessarily foaming at the mouth.”
According to Caldwell there are only a few places in the world where the rabies virus doesn’t exist. Designated rabies free regions include Iceland, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, United Kingdom (Great Britain and Northern Ireland), Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii and Guam.
Residents are encouraged not to approach wild or undomesticated animals.
“Keep your distance, call animal control or the sheriff’s department, and they will move it out of the area where it is not a danger to people,” Caldwell said.
The current treatment for rabies cases is a costly series of injections every two to three weeks once bitten by an infected animal.
Caldwell has been holding vaccination clinics every year since 1983. The clinic will be giving the one-year vaccinations at $10 a piece.