Orrum woman treated for rabies
Vets to offer special clinics
by Bob Shiles Staff writer
LUMBERTON — A cat has become the 13th animal in Robeson County in less than a year to test positive for rabies, and an Orrum woman who had contact with the animal is undergoing treatment for the killer disease.
According to Bill Smith, the county’s Health Department director, the woman on Tuesday was feeding a cat that was hanging around her house when she was bitten. Later in the day infection set in and she sought medical attention.
On Wednesday, Smith said, the cat was still hanging around the woman’s house and attacked a 4-month old puppy. A county Animal Control officer was called, the cat was captured, and the puppy was taken to a veterinary hospital.
“On Thursday, the cat tested positive for rabies and the woman started medical treatment,” Smith said. “The puppy is unvaccinated so it may have to be euthanized.”
To help slow the spread of the fatal disease and protect area residents, 11 veterinarians from the county’s six veterinary hospitals will hold special rabies clinics from Aug. 26 to Aug. 30. The clinics will be held at each of the county’s 32 fire departments for a single day.
The clinics, sponsored by the Robeson County Veterinary Medical Association in cooperation with several county organizations an interested individuals, will cost pet owners $5 for each animal vaccinated, said Dr. David Brooks, a veterinarian from Pembroke. Other sponsors are paying the remaining $3 that it costs to vaccinate each animal.
“We’re taking this (rabies vaccine) to the community,” Brooks said. “But it’s up to pet owners to show they are concerned enough about the dangers of rabies to come out and get the vaccinations done.”
The days and fire departments where the clinics will be held are as follows. All of the clinics will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. except for Prospect, which will be held on Aug. 28 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
— Aug. 26: Lumberton Central; Pembroke; Smith’s; St. Pauls and Red Springs.
— Aug. 27: Saddletree; Fairmont Central; Smyrna; Parkton; Maxton Southeastern; Rennert; Burnt Swamp-Philadelphus; and Raft Swamp.
— Aug. 28: Fairmont Rural; Prospect (5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.); Deep Branch; Rowland; Big Marsh; Northwoods; and Pine Terrace.
— Aug. 29: Britts; Shannon; Pembroke Rural; Queheel; East Howellsville; and Sterlings.
— Aug. 30: Allenton; Evans Crossroads; Orrum; Whitehouse; and Raynhem-McDonald.
Since November, rabies cases have been reported in Lumberton, Lumber Bridge, Orrum, Parkton, St. Pauls, Red Springs and Rowland. The virus is transmitted by infected animals and humans, with the symptoms including fever, headache, delirium and insomnia. In animals, symptoms also include foaming at the mouth.
Although rabies has an incubation period, it is considered fatal once the virus reaches the brain.
Under state law, all dogs, cats and ferrets older than 4 months must be vaccinated for rabies. Local veterinarians are also recommending that horses be vaccinated.
Those animals that are considered most vulnerable to contracting rabies are raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, dogs and cats.
The Orrum woman is the second to begin treatment for the disease. Smith said earlier this week that another Robeson County woman who thought she might have had contact with a rabid animal began taking the shots, and the cost was $35,000.
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