Monday, April 9, 2012


Several new cases of rabies have Garland County officials warning residents to beware of wildlife and be sure their pets are up to date of vaccinations. According to the Arkansas State Department of Health, 52 animals have tested positive for rabies so far this year, just 8 less than last year's total of 60 cases. Hot Springs Animal Services director Dan Bugg says his agency submitted two bats and a skunk for rabies testing and the results came back positive.
In February, a family’s pet dog, living in the community of Imboden in Lawrence County, was confirmed rabid by the Arkansas Department of Health. The dog became ill and progressively declined until it was euthanized and submitted for rabies testing. Several people who were exposed to the dog underwent a series of rabies vaccinations to prevent the development of the disease. The dog was an inside/outside dog and stayed in a fenced yard when outside, but had not been vaccinated against rabies. The dog had been sprayed by a skunk a month or two ago, but the disease cannot be transmitted in skunk spray. Undoubtedly he had been bitten as well, although no skunk was seen or found in the yard.
NAFA’s low cost vaccination clinic (for qualified individuals) this Saturday, April 14th from 7:30 am to 11:30 am will sponsor Dr. Jack Jones to give rabies vaccinations for $7 (233 N. Gee – red and white building on the corner of Gee Street and Dan Avenue).  Other vaccinations, heartworm testing, preventative, flea and tick medication will also be available.  All Arkansas residents should know that dogs and cats (inside or outside) must have current rabies vaccinations given by a licensed veterinarian.
Because of this serious increase in rabies activity, NAFA reminds individual to talk with their children about avoiding wildlife completely.  Equally important is to limit the amount of time pet food is let outdoors.  Pets should be fed clean fresh food twice and day but left for only a limited amount of time.  Wildlife such as skunks and raccoons, are likely to be drawn to your yard and your pet because of the food that is left out.