Time for rabies prevention
J.T.MCVEIGH/The ENTERPRISE-BULLETIN Erin Currie, a registered veterinarian technician at Bellbrae Animal Medical Centre in Collingwood, gives Lucy a check up. Pet owners are being encouraged to inoculate their pets to prevent rabies as the threat in Southern Ontario is rising. Bellbrae is holding a $25 rabies clinic Wednesday for 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.. First come first serve.
COLLINGWOOD – Although rabies is typically associated with raccoons, local veterinarians are encouraging residents to get their pets inoculated against the disease sooner rather than later.
“Clinics are always busiest in the fall,” said Dr. Jim Bell of Bellbrae Animal Medical Centre in Collingwood. “The springtime we are normally quite busy doing farm work and getting animals ready for fleas and ticks.”
The threat of rabies isn’t something that should be ignored.
“The raccoon rabies are alive and well in Southern Ontario. The province started the baiting program again around the end of August centering around the Hamilton area,” said Bell. “They are trying to keep it from coming across the Great Lakes and they are putting out 270,000 vaccine baits so far this year. Last year there were 1.6 million baits dropped.”
There were 280 reported cases of rabies last year, mostly raccoons, and the province has recorded 88 this year found in animals including raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes.
“It’s a perfect mix in Simcoe County of urban and rural. We have skunks and raccoons invading some of the villages and of course we have fox and coyotes coming in for food as well,” said Bell.
Bell says that a few years ago, vets believed they may have eradicated the disease in animals, but in recent times there has been a resurgence.
“It’s out there. We should never let our guard down because there are many different strains,” says Bell.
Unchecked rabies can become a major health threat.
“As long as people are vaccinating they are doing the best they can and the government is really going full bore on their baiting program,” said Bell.
Many veterinary clinics will be hosting rabies clinics. Bellbrae is hosting their's Wednesday Oct. 3 from 2 p.m. to 7p.m.