Rabies Clinic Makes A Difference

FOCUS ON PETS

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I have just returned from 10 days away from my dogs. It was tough. These guys are such a part of my everyday life, it is just not the same without them constantly underfoot, wanting to go out and come in, reminding me of walk time and letting me know that mealtime is approaching. It is good to be home.

A low-cost rabies clinic is coming to Payson. If you have been waiting for the opportunity to get your pet vaccinated against this deadly disease, here is your chance. The clinic is Saturday, March 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Main Street Animal Clinic, 411 West Main Street. The Gila County Division of Health and Community Services, Rabies Control Section, is sponsoring this clinic. The town of Payson's Animal Control Section and Dr. Jacque Rosholm of the Main Street Clinic are helping to coordinate the event.

Shots will be $5 for dogs, cats and ferrets. Cats and ferrets must be brought to the clinic in carriers. Owners are reminded to bring a copy of their pet's last rabies vaccination certificate and proof of spaying and neutering. The first rabies vaccination for an animal is good for one year. Subsequent vaccinations are generally good for three years. It is vitally important to keep these and other vaccinations current.

Dog licenses will be available. Gila County dog licenses are $7 for a spayed or neutered dog and $15 for a non-altered dog. Town of Payson licenses are $3 for spayed or neutered dogs and $7 for those that are unaltered. Because the state requirements for vaccinating animals against rabies have undergone revision, it is more difficult to have these low-cost programs. Each pet receiving the vaccination is required to have a simple physical exam from a veterinarian. Because of the huge consequence of rabies infection, Michael Spaulding, Rabies Control Officer for Gila County, and county and city health officials, have worked hard to put this program together. For additional information, call (928) 474-1210.

There have been outbreaks of rabies throughout the state. Cave Creek, just north of Scottsdale, recently had several animals test positive for rabies and residents were warned to keep their pets inside.

Rabid foxes were jumping into fenced yards and attacking family pets. It was very frightening. It is vitally important to have your pet properly vaccinated. An unvaccinated dog will be dead within 10 days after being infected by a rabid animal. That is not a pleasant thought. A simple vaccination makes all the difference. Whether you go to this low-cost clinic or to your own veterinarian for the rabies vaccination, do not delay. Do it now.

Once your dog is vaccinated for rabies, getting a license is the next stop. There are many reasons for the license. The first is that it is the law. But the most important reason to pet owners is that with that license attached to his collar, if your pet is ever lost, he can be returned to you. The value of this protection is priceless.

April 3 is pet Tag Day. You will be hearing more about this in the coming weeks but the thrust of it is that all dogs should have tags attached to their collars showing that they are current on vaccinations and are licensed. With those tags, they are protected and legal. Get your dog his tags now and be ahead of the game.

Spay/Neuter is always an important topic. Spay Day USA was Feb. 24. The Payson Humane Society still has a few spay/neuter rebate coupons left in their program. This is a great opportunity to have your pet neutered and get a $20 rebate. The program was limited to the first 50 applicants. If you miss out, get your pet neutered anyway. It is the best investment you can make for your pet's health and welfare. Make that appointment today and then you can save money on the license.

Nominations are being sought for the National Be Kind to Animals Kid contest. The Feb. 27 Payson Roundup printed all the specifics. Be on the lookout for a child between the ages of 6 and 13 who is really making a difference for animals. There are two different age categories and many prizes. What a great way to acknowledge the efforts of our communities' young people.

While away, I accompanied my niece-dog, Julie, to the veterinarian for her annual checkup and vaccinations. This was in Massachusetts and I was reminded how different parts of the country require a variety of vaccinations. Whenever you move to a different part of the country, discuss the move with your veterinarian and find out what precautions might be necessary. If you are taking your dog on a trip or across a border to the north or south, check with your veterinarian in advance to see what additional protections and health certificates might be needed.

Having a pet is a responsibility and requires a commitment. Our pets depend on us to keep them healthy and protected. We can depend on them to give much more than they receive. Just give them a chance.

Christy Wrather is a columnist for the Payson Roundup. She can be reached by e-mail at cpwrather@earthlink.net or by snail mail at HC1 Box 210, Strawberry AZ 85544.

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