In today’s tough economy, pets are not faring well. There has been an upsurge in abandoned pets as people lose their homes to foreclosure, and many pet owners are putting off veterinary care as they struggle with their household bills.
It might not seem like vaccination boosters are urgent, but this month’s rabies case in Summit County is a grim reminder of how important it is to stay on schedule with your pet’s health.
It has been fourteen years since there has been a rabies fatality in Ohio; but this month, a Twinsburg family’s Siberian Husky died of the infection. The Husky was the first dog diagnosed with rabies to die in Ohio since 1997. Drooling, lack of appetite, and fever are the clinical symptoms of rabies in pets.
The Twinsburg pet was 13 months past-due for a rabies booster, and had only received the one year puppy rabies vaccine. Many pet owners assume that once their dog receives its puppy vaccinations, it is protected, but that is not the case. It usually takes more than a year for a pet to build a proper immunity, even after receiving the full battery of puppy or kitten vaccines. Vaccine boosters help to kick a pet’s immune response into gear. Most dogs receive a three-year rabies vaccine after they are a year old and have had all of their puppy shots. Most cats receive one year boosters throughout their lives. Be sure to check with your vet so you are clear on whether your pet has received a one-year or three-year vaccine.
Rabies comes in a variety of strains: coyote, raccoon, skunk and bat. Summit and Cuyahoga County both have programs for rabies vaccine bait drops in the greater Cleveland area. The bait drops ended at the beginning of October.
Terry Tuttle of the Summit County Health Department said that more than 200 raccoons have been tested for rabies this year, and none had returned a positive result. Regardless, he reports that it was the raccoon strain that killed the Twinsburg dog, when it suffered a raccoon bite in its yard.
Tuttle warns residents not to interact with wildlife – don’t feed the wildlife and don’t stop to help if you’ve hit a coyote or raccoon with your car. Injured animals are frightened, and frightened animals bite. A scratch or bite from a wild animal pretty much ensures that you will have to undergo rabies shots to be on the safe side. Waiting for symptoms to appear is too late and will be fatal. Just coming into contact with the saliva of an infected animal can be dangerous.
The family of the Twinsburg dog will have to have a series of four vaccines and one dose of rabies immune globulin. The family’s second dog, who was also behind on shots, will have to remain in quarantine for six months.
To help area residents keep their pets up to date on vaccines, the Summit County Health Department holds low cost vaccine clinics in conjunction with PetGuards. The next pet clinics are listed below. You do not need to be a Summit County resident to take advantage of the low cost vaccines.
Green Recycling Center
5383 Massillon Rd
Green, Ohio 44720
Saturday November 5, 2011
10:00AM – 2:00PM
Twinsburg City Police Department
10075 Ravenna Road
Twinsburg, Ohio 44
Saturday December 3
10:00AM – 2:00PM
The clinics are for dogs and cats only. Veterinarians from PetGuards will provide the vaccines and other shots listed below. No appointment is necessary.
- Rabies vaccine 1 & 3 yr $5 per animal (pet must be at least 4 mo. old)
- Cat shot (annual booster) $12 per animal
- Kitten shot (includes wormer) $10 per animal
- Adult Cat Shot $18 per animal (over 5 yrs of age- good for 3 yrs)
- Feline Leukemia shot (outdoor cats only) $16 per animal
- Dog shot (annual booster) $12 per animal
- Adult dog shot $18 per animal (over 5 yrs of age- good for 3 yrs)
- Bordatella $14 per animal
- Puppy shot (includes wormer) $10 per animal
- “Home Again” Microchip id insertion $20 per animal
All pets attending the clinics must be leashed or in a cage.