Free rabies clinics in Upper Township

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Three rabid raccoons have had contact with dogs in Upper, Middle townships

UPPER TOWNSHIP – Officials said the township will hold free rabies clinics from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Feb. 23 at Shore Veterinarian Animal Hospital, 73 Hope Corson Road in Seaville.

 

The events will be held rain or shine.

Dog licenses will also be available for purchase at the clinic. Under state law, dog licenses are required in Upper Township.

The best way to avoid potential exposure to rabies is to make sure that dogs and cats are vaccinated, according to county health officer Kevin Thomas.

"An encounter with a potentially rabid animal could be fatal for your pet, particularly if your pet is not currently vaccinated, and puts your family in danger of also being exposed to rabies,” he said.

In 2012, 310 cases of rabies in animals were reported in New Jersey, including two raccoons in Cape May County (Upper Township and Middle Township). An additional raccoon has tested positive in Upper Township for 2013, said Thomas.

All three rabid raccoons had involvement with pet dogs. The first dog was unvaccinated and had to be euthanized. The other two dogs were vaccinated against rabies and are currently under observation.

While the majority of New Jersey animal rabies cases are in wild animals such as raccoons, bats and skunks, it is important to remember that family pets may also be infected, said Thomas. Cats have accounted for 90 percent of the domestic animal cases seen in New Jersey since 1989, according to a press release.

Rabies is fatal in humans and any animal bite should be taken seriously.

The rabies virus is spread through the saliva of animals that are infected with the virus. If an animal bites you, wash the wound, seek medical attention immediately and notify the Cape May County Department of Health and your municipal animal control agency, said Thomas.

If your pet has contact with a wild animal, contact your veterinarian and the Department of Health right away, he said.

There have been three human rabies cases in New Jersey since 1956, occurring between 1971 and 2011. (The 2011 case was imported from Haiti). There have been no human cases in Cape May County or South Jersey in the past 50 years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 40,000 people nationwide each year receive rabies post-exposure prophylaxis as a precaution because they have been bitten or potentially exposed to a rabid animal. The risk can be much greater in other countries. Each year, an estimated 55,000 people die from rabies worldwide.

State law requires all dogs seven months and older to be licensed with the local municipality, and rabies vaccination is a requirement for licensing. Most municipalities also have ordinances for cats.

“Getting dogs and cats vaccinated is not only the right thing to do to protect your pet and your family but it can also mean the difference between a 45-day observation period and a six-month enforced quarantine if your pet has contact with a wild animal,” said Thomas.

Other rabies clinics are being held at the Dennis Township Public Works building, 571 Petersburg Rd. in Dennisville, from 1 to 3 p.m. on Jan. 26; at the Middle Township Public Works building, 400 W. Mechanic St. in Cape May Court House, from 2 to 3 p.m. on Jan. 26; and at the Ocean City Humane Society, 1 Shelter Rd. in Ocean City, from 10 a.m. to noon on Jan. 26.

There is also a rabies clinic scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon on March 16 at the Woodbine Ambulance Building, DeHirsch Ave. in Woodbine.

For more information on the Upper Township rabies clinic, call 628-2011, ext. 200.

 

 


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