Residents of Montgomery County have one more chance to attend a low-cost Rabies Immunization Clinic sponsored by the Montgomery County Health Department. This final round of its 2012 series will be offered on Saturday, Sept. 22 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Smith Family Plaza, in front of the , 100 E. High St., Pottstown.
While they are welcome, all animals in attendance must be on a leash or in an approved pet carrier. Vaccination for rabies at the open event will cost only $10.
According to Jessica Willingham, communications assistant for the Montgomery County Office of Communications, last year many animals were helped by the clinics.
“In 2011, 1,191 cats, dogs and ferrets were vaccinated at five rabies clinic sites in Montgomery County,” she said in a recent release. According to the clinic's data, the following sites offered vaccines to area pets.
Montgomery County had 1,522 animal bites reported in 2011. Of those, 1,119 were animal-to-human bites, while 162 were animal-to-animal, according to the Department of Health. Last year, there were also 241 cases of a domestic animal being wounded by an unknown origin, presumed to be a suspected rabid animal.
“Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system,” said Willingham. “It can affect all mammals, including man. Rabies is a fatal disease once symptoms appear.”
The department said that it is spread via bites or breaks in the skin or through a mucous membrane. In Montgomery County, there have been proven cases found in raccoons, bats, skunks, foxes, groundhogs, cats and dogs throughout the county.
To meet legal requirements, all cats and dogs over age three months must have a vaccine for rabies. Both Pennsylvania State Law and a requirement of the Montgomery County Public Health Code require the vaccine for pets.
This year, so far, Montgomery County has had 13 reported cases of rabies including:
- 3 Raccoons: In Salford, Perkiomen and Towamencin townships
- 2 Skunks in Upper Merion and Upper Moreland townships
- 7 Bats in Horsham, Upper Merion, Lower Providence, Whitemarsh, Lower Merion and Upper Merion (2) townships
- 1 Cat in Lower Salford Township
For more information on the Montgomery County Health Department’s Animal Bite and Rabies Surveillance Program, contact the Division of Communicable Disease Control at 610-278-5117.