LUMBERTON — When it comes to preventing the spread of rabies, which is almost always fatal, Dr. David Brooks has the only sure bet solution. All pets need to be vaccinated.
“It’s like driving and maintaining a car,” Brooks said. “Don’t wait until the car breaks down before you change the oil.”
Rabies clinics that offer the protection at a reduced cost are being sponsored Monday through Friday by the Robeson County Veterinary Medical Association. The clinics will be held at the county’s 32 fire stations on a rotating basis from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. each day.
As they have done in the past, county commissioners are paying $3 of the total $8 cost for each vaccination. Pet owners pay only $5.
Rabies is an acute infection of the brain that is usually transmitted to people via a bite by a rabid animal. According to information provided by the county Veterinary Medical Association, there have been several reported cases of rabies in Robeson County in less than one year, with adjoining Cumberland County reporting cases of rabies in double-digits this year.
State law requires all pet dogs, cats and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies by 4 months of age.
“The state mandates that there be one clinic each year,” Brooks said. “But we go beyond that. We hold three clinics.”
Over the past four years more than 4,000 animals have been vaccinated at the clinics, according to the veterinary association. In 2016, 1,004 animals were vaccinated, down from the four-year high of 1,758 in 2013.
The day and fire department locations of the upcoming clinics are as follows:
— Monday: Saddletree, Red Springs, St. Pauls, Rowland, Pembroke City and Sterlings.
— Tuesday: Fairmont City, Parkton, Burnt Swamp-Philadelphus, Prospect, Smyrna, Rennert and Raft Swamp.
— Wednesday: Fairmont Rural, Lumber Bridge, Lumberton Central, Deep Branch, Big Marsh and North Wood.
— Thursday: Shannon, Britts, Whitehouse, Pembroke Rural, Smith, East Howellsville and Gaddyville.
— Friday: Allenton, Queheel, Raynham-McDonald, Evans Crossroads, Orrum and Pine Terrace.
A SNIP — spay and neuter improves pets — program is scheduled in September, Brooks said. The five Robeson County animal hospitals that make up the county Veterinary Medical Association will offer discounted spay and neuter procedures for dogs and cats from Sept. 5 through Sept. 16.
The program’s primary objective is to decrease the number of free roaming and unwanted litters, and prevent pet overpopulation.
The discounted rates will be a “significant savings” for pet owners, Brooks said.
“The cost will vary, but the procedure should be between $30 and $70 cheaper during this two-week period,” he said.
The discounted rate will apply to all pet owners no matter what their income or where they live.
Pet owners must schedule appointments with one of the five animal hospitals in Robeson County. The hospitals offering the discounts are Pembroke Veterinary Hospital, Southeastern Veterinary Hospital, North Star Veterinary Hospital, Baird’s Animal Hospital and South Robeson Veterinary Clinic.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.