From Sept. 4 to Sept. 15, all six veterinarian sites will be providing services as a part of the Spay Neuter Incentive Program (SNIP). This program provides discounted spaying and neutering services that are not based on income. So if one is anti-governmental assistance, this program is for you as it is the individual veterinarian who is providing the service at a reduced unsubsidized fee. This has proven to be very successful over the past three years.
The only way to reduce the tremendous number of animals cycled through the animal shelter is for spaying and neutering to be the norm and not the exception. While an incidental impact occurs immediately, it will take a concerted effort over time to truly better the situation. Our local vets have proven that they want to be in it for the long haul and are commended for such. Please contact your veterinarian office of choice and make arrangements.
Robeson County is unique in that our veterinarians conduct two rabies clinics yearly — one in the spring and one at the start of hunting season. So, Oct. 5 and Oct. 6 have been designated as countywide rabies clinic days. As such, rabies shots are discounted. As a reminder, all dogs and cats 4 months of age and older are required by state law to have a current vaccination, which consists of one-year and three-year shots depending upon their status.
Before I leave the vet services, let me congratulate Dr. David Brooks on receiving the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association’s highest honor, the 2012 Distinguished Veterinarian of the Year Award. It was great to see some good news in the paper. His nomination captured the unique blend of a professional, a family man and a community member — one worthy of serving as a model for our populations. It has been a pleasure to serve with him over the years. Actually, Dr. Brooks was on the Board of Health when I was hired in 1988, so he has to share in the blame/acclaim for that event.
Taking a slight detour, let us talk about ticks. Recent studies have found that the bite of a Lone Star tick — our most common — is the cause for food allergies as it relates to red meat. Unlike most allergies which have immediate reactions, symptoms may show up three to six hours after a person has eaten red meat. The reaction includes hives, an itchy rash and swelling of the lips, tongue and throat; more severe reactions can be fatal.
This particular tick is reddish in nature and is the size of a ballpoint pen tip. Of course prevention of the tick bite is the first concern — wearing long pants and long sleeves with taped ends, avoiding brushy areas near the edges of woods and tall grass, and having your pets stay out of those areas. If a tick is attached, it should be carefully removed with head intact and taped to an index card with date and location written as a reminder if a health condition surfaces later. Remember it will do no good to be tested immediately because it is too soon for any disease to be identified.
Of more concern in our area is Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which would be contracted from a different tick. A recent study has also shown that song birds are carrying plenty of ticks, which makes sense since they hang-out in the same ‘hood. One should be careful around bird feeders as ticks may fall off of the birds and catch onto the next thing to come by. There are some that advocate doing away with bird feeders, but maybe caution is a better action.