This year’s clinics launched today during regular business hours of local vets and at the Charleston Pet Emergency Clinic, and will be offered over the next two weeks.
The clinics are honoring a special vaccination rate of $12 for dogs and cats.
Community clinics are also on tap at a variety of locations, dates and times. Each will be staffed by area veterinarians. These clinics, which kick off Tuesday, will include:
- Tuesday, April 26, from 6 to 7 p.m., at Bellefounte Baptist Church, Blue Springs School and Candies Creek Baptist Church.
- Thursday, April 28, from 6 to 7 p.m., at Valley View School, McDonald Post Office, Charleston Fire Hall and Oak Grove School.
- Tuesday, May 3, from 6 to 7 p.m., at Michigan Avenue School, Waterville School and Black Fox School.
- Thursday, May 5, from 6 to 7 p.m., at Taylor School, Blythe-Bower School and E. L. Ross School.
- Saturday, May 7, from 2 to 3 p.m., at the Cleveland Animal Shelter, Charleston Fire Hall and Prospect School.
The rules are simple. Owners attending the clinics should keep their pets on a leash or in a carrier. Cats should be left in a vehicle for their safety.
Eric Coffey, field office manager for the Southeast Regional Office of the General Environmental Health Division of the Tennessee Department of Public Health, described rabies as a “deadly virus that is transmitted by bites from an infected animal.” The disease can be prevented if treated promptly before the onset of symptoms, he explained.
“Left untreated, rabies is nearly always fatal,” he said. “Although rabies in humans is rare in the United States today, up to 40,000 people each year receive preventive treatment following an exposure.”
In Tennessee and elsewhere in the U.S., the number of rabies cases in domestic animals has declined dramatically over the years due to mandatory vaccination laws for dogs and cats. However, rabies among wildlife (especially skunks, bats and raccoons) has become more prevalent.
“The higher the incidence of rabies in wildlife, the greater the risk to domestic animals who act as a buffer zone between wildlife and humans,” Coffey cited.
The Bradley County Health Department, along with Cleveland animal control officers, investigated 149 animal bites in the county in 2010. This was an increase from the 124 bite investigations performed in 2009.
“Tennessee law requires that all dogs and cats be vaccinated against rabies, and their shots kept up-to-date,” Coffey stressed. “Pets should be kept confined to a controlled area to limit their exposure to wild animals.”