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Low-cost rabies clinics return to Simcoe County Sept. 30

Sep 26, 2023
SIMCOE COUNTY – Low-cost rabies clinics, an affordable way to get rabies shots for dogs and cats over three months old, are available again this year in Simcoe County.

SIMCOE COUNTY – Low-cost rabies clinics, an affordable way to get rabies shots for dogs and cats over three months old, are available again this year in Simcoe County. Low-cost rabies clinics are offered annually by local veterinarians who generously give their time to participate in the program and operate the clinics.

The first clinic will be held on Saturday, Sept. 30 in Collingwood, with additional clinics taking place in Alliston, Barrie, Oro-Medonte, Penetanguishene and Tottenham, through to Oct. 29. A schedule of clinics is listed on the health unit’s website at smdhu.org/RabiesClinics.

“Rabies is a fatal disease that can spread to humans through the bites or scratches of an infected animal,” says Felicia Ratiu, rabies program coordinator at the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “Fortunately, it is preventable which is why it is important to get your cats and dogs vaccinated against rabies. Even indoor pets need to be vaccinated as it is the best way to protect them and the human members of your family.”

One and three-year vaccines are being offered at clinics, depending on the animal’s vaccination status. Pet owners should speak with their veterinarian to determine when their pet is due for its next rabies vaccination. It helps to bring the previous vaccination certificate to a clinic to make sure which vaccine is best.

The clinics provide vaccines against rabies to approximately 1000 pets annually. Anyone unable to attend the limited low-cost clinic locations can contact their local vet to arrange to get their pet vaccinated.

In addition to vaccinating your pet, you can help prevent the spread of rabies by not allowing cats or dogs to roam free and keeping them indoors at night. Remind your family to stay away from unfamiliar dogs and cats, as well as all wildlife, including bats.

In 2022, health unit staff investigated nearly 1,600 potential rabies exposure incidents and of those 40 per cent of the animals investigated were cats and dogs who were unvaccinated or for which rabies vaccination status was unknown. Many of the investigations resulted in rabies vaccine for people as a precaution.

Thanks to vaccination, the baiting of wild raccoons, skunks, and foxes, and public awareness, Ontario’s incidence of rabies is lower than many other areas in North America.

For information on clinic times and dates visit the health unit website at smdhu.org/RabiesClinics, or call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520, Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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