September 28th was World Rabies Day. The Arkansas Department of Health has issued some alarming statistics The State Health Department reports an alarming rise in the number of rabies cases so far this year. In fact, they've already surpassed the total amount from last year.
With a lot of people living in rural areas around Arkansas and letting their pets run around outside, the state's latest rabies map is important to see. Each color represents a county and the level of cases hitting there this year. Sebastian County is probably the biggest hit with 26 cases and 64 dogs now quarantined after exposure. NAFA is trying to help owners in this area.
No Appointment Necessary. This Saturday, October 1st from 7:30 am to 11:30 am, NAFA will sponsor Dr. Jack Jones for our monthly low cost clinic – 233 N. Gee, red and white building on the corner of Gee Street and Dan Avenue across from Riceland Foods. While individuals usually must qualify for our services, this Saturday any individual can received rabies vaccinations for their dogs or cats, certificate and tag for only $3.00. While coupons are required, individuals can show up and ask for a coupon on the spot. Individuals who want a rabies only can bring their animals and leave them in their vehicles, NAFA technicians and the vet will give rabies shots so the animal never has to leave the security of the vehicle.
Other vaccinations and services are available, however, individuals must qualify and must bring their animals inside the building for those services.
Here are some key points from the Arkansas Department of Health:
• Ark. averages 41 rabid animals per year, but so far in 2011 we have had 50 positives, including 44 rabid skunks and 6 rabid bats.
• Sebastian Co. alone has had 26 rabid skunks in 2011. In a normal year, we average 32 rabid skunks for the entire state. Through Aug. 31, 2011, 42 skunks have been submitted from Sebastian Co., with a rate of 62 percent being positive. The previous 5 years statewide have a 45.7 percent positive rate.
• Rabies is 100 percent preventable. In most cases, preventing rabies is as simple as ensuring adequate animal vaccination and control, avoiding contact with wild animals, and educating those at risk. Of the 64 dogs and 1 cat exposed to rabid animals from the wild this year, only 31 percent have been current on their rabies vaccinations.
• While we have had an epidemic of skunk type rabies this year, we cannot forget that bat exposures lead to almost all of the deaths to rabies in the US (excluding those people who were bitten by an animal in another country but then were in the US when the symptoms began).
• Any bite from a bat, no matter how tiny, is extremely serious. If possible, capture the bat and have it tested for rabies. If we cannot test, the person must receive rabies preventive shots.
NAFA is a non profit 501c3. Funds for this clinic are provided by local donors.