By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
This spring, the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit is partnering with participating veterinary clinics to offer reduced-cost rabies vaccination clinics on Saturday, April 15.
In Northumberland County, that would be the Ganaraska Animal Clinic at 148 Rose Glen Rd. S., Port Hope, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The cost is $40 per animal (unless otherwise specified), cash only. No appointment is needed, just be sure dogs are on leash and cats are in secure carriers. Owners should bring proof of their pet’s most recent vaccination, if applicable.
These visits do not include examination of the pet – owners will need to schedule another appointment with their veterinarians for a full screening.
The press release explained that rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous systems of warm-blooded mammals, including humans. It is most commonly transmitted through bats, foxes, skunks and raccoons, though it can also spread through pets and other domestic animals. In Ontario, all cats, dogs and ferrets must be vaccinated for rabies at three months of age, and must thereafter be kept up-to-date with these shots.
Manager of Environmental Health Richard Ovcharovich offered some statistics for 2022, when the health unit investigated 567 animal bits or scratch exposure throughout the region – Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes in addition to Northumberland County.
“These investigations included 384 dogs, 105 cats and 78 other animals,” Ovcharovich said in the press release.
“At the time of the incidents, only 54% of dogs and 16% of cats were vaccinated for rabies.”
An infected animal can transmit rabies to humans when there is contact with the saliva through a bite or a lick to an open wound or scratch. Last year, 37 HKPR residents received the rabies immune globule and vaccine series, the life-saving treatment that can prevent rabies infection if administered soon after exposure. As well, 20 animals were submitted for testing with one bat testing positive for rabies.
Ovcharovich urges pet owners who face financial challenges to take advantage of the reduced-cost rabies vaccination clinic.
“Rabies is fatal, so getting pets vaccinated is an important part of caring for animals and being a responsible pet owner,” he stated.
“By vaccinating your four-legged friend, you are also protecting the health of your family and loved ones.”