Reduced-cost rabies clinics

By: SC Dept. of Health & Environmental Control
By: SC Dept. of Health & Environmental Control

SC Dept. of Health and Environmental Control

Rabies vaccination clinics set

COLUMBIA - During April, the S.C. Department of Health and environmental Control and many veterinarians across the state will join forces to help residents protect themselves and their pets from rabies.

"Veterinarians will conduct special reduced-cost rabies clinics to vaccinate pet cats and dogs against the fatal disease," said Sue Ferguson of DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health. "Vaccinations will cost $3 each at the clinics."

More than 33,000 pets were vaccinated against rabies during the special clinics statewide last year, according to Ferguson.

"The continued cooperation of local veterinarians in this annual effort is greatly appreciated," she said. "Their participation in the reduced-cost clinics provides a valuable public service to the citizens of South Carolina. The threat of rabies still exists, so we encourage all pet owners to have their dogs and cats vaccinated."

Rabies is a threat to domestic and wild animals as well as to humans.
In 2007, there were 162 cases of rabies confirmed in animals in South Carolina.

"As usual, the most cases were in raccoons," Ferguson said.

Positive rabies cases last year included 92 raccoons, 32 foxes, 14 skunks, 10 bats, seven cats, three dogs, two bobcats, and two cows.
Although there were no cases of rabies confirmed in Allendale, Bamberg, Beaufort, Calhoun, Colleton, Darlington, Georgetown, Hampton, Marlboro, Oconee, Sumter or Williamsburg counties, positive rabies cases have been reported in every South Carolina county during the last decade.

Annually, about 400 South Carolinians undergo preventive treatment after being bitten by a rabid or suspected rabid animal. The cost of the treatment is approximately $1,000 per person.

"Rabies is fatal once it is contracted, but pets can be protected,"
Ferguson said. "The most effective way to protect domestic pets and humans from the threat of rabies is to have all dogs and cats vaccinated against the disease."

Current South Carolina law requires every pet cat and dog to be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. The owner of an unvaccinated domestic pet may be found guilty of a misdemeanor and fined up to $500 or imprisoned up to 30 days.

Dates, times, and locations of special rabies vaccination clinics can be obtained from DHEC’s county health departments and local participating veterinarians.

For additional information about rabies, see DHEC’s Web page at:
http://www.scdhec.gov/rabies.

For the clinics around the state, see DHEC’s Web page at:
http://www.scdhec.gov/health/envhlth/general_sanitation/rabies_clinics.htm


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