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Rabies clinic offered at Farmer's Market

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Pictured, Dr. Chester administers a heartworm test at Saturday’s vaccination clinic.

     Saturday, Dr. Craig Chester and his wife/Office Manager Charmet enjoyed a successful start to the second Farmers Market Vaccination clinic as they welcomed owner after owner looking to have their pets vaccinated.

     As the months begin to grow warmer, it becomes even more important to vaccinate your pets, as it is more likely families and their pets will enjoy more time outdoors.

 

     But why is it so important for owners to ensure their pets receive the rabies vaccine? Pickens Environmental Health Officer Jan Stephens reminds owners that aside from being required by law, the vaccine is important because “a vaccinated dog or cat is your family’s best protection from rabies carriers.”

Last month, there were two confirmed cases of rabies in the county, leading to the deaths of four beloved pets. In 2011,  three raccoons were discovered to carry the virus.

While it is a general consensus that one must avoid or quarantine an animal suspected to carry the virus, it is not so well known that animals can carry a dormant form of the virus and display no symptoms of illness.            

     Typically, carriers such as bats, raccoons, skunks, bobcats, foxes, and coyotes can live years with the virus shedding in their saliva without showing any signs of illness. Even when dormant, the virus can be passed along to other animals and people.

     Domesticated animals such as dogs and cats differ, because death is imminent within ten days of their beginning to shed the virus. Humans too can contract the virus, making vaccination too important to ignore.

     The best way to protect yourself and loved ones is to avoid any wild or unfamiliar animals and to ensure that each of your pets receives the rabies vaccination.

     The clinic will offer the rabies vaccination as well as other important vaccinations and a heartworm test at $12 per vaccination every 2nd and 3rd Saturday of the month through the duration of the Farmers Market season.

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