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Rock County Public Health Department to offer rabies clinic

Janesville Gazette - 9/14/2017

Sept. 14--JANESVILLE -- Pet owners like sharing many things with their pets--beds, snacks, trips to the park.

Rabies is one exception.

To prevent unwanted sharing of the viral disease, the Rock County Public Health Department, Friends of Noah animal rescue and local veterinarians are offering a rabies clinic for cats and dogs from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Rock County 4-H Fairgrounds.

The health department hopes to increase the number of vaccinated animals in the county, said Rick Wietersen, environmental health director at the health department.

About 30 percent of cats and 60 percent of dogs seen at the health department each year have been vaccinated for rabies, Wietersen said.

"The vaccination not only protects the pets but protects the people," he said.

Here are five things pet owners should know about rabies and the clinic:

1. Rabies can spread.

Pets most often contract rabies through bites or scratches from wild animals. In Rock County, bat and skunk bites are common sources of the disease, Wietersen said. Rabies can spread from pets to humans and is almost always fatal if not treated quickly, according to a health department news release.

2. Rabies affects humans in Rock County.

About 400 people are bitten by animals and require attention from medical professionals every year, according to the news release. In 2016, 46 people were referred to their health care providers for rabies vaccinations as a result of animal bites.

3. The rabies clinic provides vaccinations for low cost and little hassle.

Pet owners can get their pets vaccinated at Saturday's clinic for $10, which is significantly less than normal vaccination costs, Wietersen said.

Pet owners do not have to provide documentation to get their pets vaccinated, he said. If a pet has received a rabies shot in the past, the owner can bring documentation from the past vaccination and receive a three-year vaccination. All other pets will receive one-year doses.

The health department asks that dogs be kept on nonretractable leashes and cats in carriers, Wietersen said. Pets that are not friendly with other animals or new people can be vaccinated in separate area onsite.

4. The vaccination does not hurt the pet.

Pets often do not react when they receive vaccinations, Wietersen said. The only discomfort for pets might be because they are in an unfamiliar place, he said.

5. Pet owners should expect to wait.

The health department usually sees several hundred people at the clinic each year, Wietersen said. People should anticipate long lines and moderate wait times and plan accordingly, he said.

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(c)2017 The Janesville Gazette (Janesville, Wis.)

Visit The Janesville Gazette (Janesville, Wis.) at www.gazetteextra.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 
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