By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario – The health unit has teamed up with veterinarians throughout Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry to offer pet owners a cost-effective way to fight rabies.
Each September, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) organizes a slew of rabies clinics in all five counties to ensure the community is safe against the disease. The cost is $20/per pet. No examination will take place.
Dogs, cats and their pet owners have over 20 location options, ranging from veterinary services in Alexandria, Winchester and Cornwall.
The St. Lawrence Valley Animal Hospital (435 Pitt St.) has been doing annual rabies clinics for two decades. Dr. Peter Tropea expects up to 300 pets to scurry through his doors.
“Rabies prevention is very important in Eastern Ontario,” said Tropea. “This is a low-cost option for those who can’t afford regular check-ups.”
Tropea said rabies was a larger problem 10 to 15 years ago.
“Rabies is a real consideration in this area,” he said. “It used to be much worse, it reduced dramatically, so we have to continue or go back to where we were.”
Tropea said that mandatory rabies vaccinations for pets and wildlife rabies vaccinations by way of bait drops have made it a lot safer for everyone.
According to the EOHU, “rabies is a deadly disease that can infect wild animals such as bats, raccoons and skunks. However, pets can also become infected and then pass it on to people. Rabies is spread through rabid animal bites, or through contact with a rabid animal’s saliva. Once symptoms appear, rabies is almost always fatal.”
The health unit’s website says, “In order to protect the community against rabies, it’s required by law that all cats and dogs three months of age or older be vaccinated against the disease. Even if your cat or dog is an indoor pet, they still need to receive the rabies vaccine because bats carrying rabies can enter into residences.”