Brush Country clinic offered reduced price in honor of World Rabies Day

Sue Fleming, The Freer Press

In recognition of World Rabies Day, the Brush Country Veterinary Clinic in Freer offered rabies shots for a reduced fee of $5 Saturday.

Though the disease is prevalent among many wild animals in the area, some pet owners refuse to have their dogs or cats vaccinated, said veterinarian Dr. Chuck Miles.

"I strongly recommend pets get shots annually though they can be given every three years," he said. "Rabies is a deadly disease and a shot takes no time at all to give but a booster should be given every year."

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., about 30 dogs and cats received shots, said clinic secretary Nancy Chancey.

Initiator of the program, county agent Sam Gavito, also brought along his five month-old pup, Koby, for his first rabies vaccination. Assistant Maribel Hernandez documented the vaccinations during the four-hour period as well.

Last year, 830 cases of rabies were reported in Texas with 550 caused from skunks and 164 from bats, records show.

In Texas, as in the rest of the United States, rabies is primarily a disease of wild animals.

There are two strains of rabies prevalent in terrestrial animals in Texas which are the Texas fox strain and the south central skunk strain.

These strains are maintained by intra-species (within the host species) transmission with occasional spillover to both domestic and other wild animals. The raccoon rabies strain that is prevalent on the east coast of the United States is not currently found in Texas, but raccoons do get infected as a result of spillover from the skunk and fox. Distinct rabies virus variants are found in insectivorous bats in multiple independent reservoirs of bat species, reports say.

The mission of World Rabies Day is to raise awareness about the impact of human and animal rabies, how easy it is to prevent it and how to eliminate the main global sources.