OREGON COUNTY -- On April 7 the Langley Animal Clinic in collaboration with the Oregon County Health Department will hold a rabies vaccination clinic. The clinic will be set up at the Thayer Police Station from 8 to 11 a.m.
A second clinic will be held that same day (April 7) at Alton at the old Alton Fair Grounds from noon to 2 p.m.
Oregon County Health Department Administrator Shiela Russell said the cost of the vaccination will be $8. She said other vaccinations will also be available that day.
"Rabies is a viral disease of mammals and is transmitted primarily through bites. Annually, 7,000 to 8,000 rabid animals are detected in this country every year, with more than 90 percent of the cases in wild animals," Russell said.
Rabies is found naturally in Missouri, occurring mostly in bats and skunks, although other animals are also found rabid each year, including dogs, cats, cattle and horses.
Russell said there were no reported rabies cases in Oregon County last year. "We believe the annual rabies clinic is one reason for our success as far as not having rabies in tested animals in Oregon County in many years," she said.
The annual number of rabid animals reported in the state during the 10-year period starting in 1995 ranged from 26 to 59 or an average of 40 cases per year.
"Although rabies is transmitted to humans almost entirely through bites from rabid animals, contamination of open wounds or mucous membranes with saliva or nervous tissue from a rabid animal could potentially constitute exposure. Rabies in humans is almost invariably fatal," she said.
Russell said rabies vaccines are very important in stopping the virus. "The vaccines are available for dogs, cats, ferrets, sheep, cattle and horses," she said.
Vaccinations for cats and dogs is crucial since vaccinated pets are a protective barrier between the people who own and interact with them and rabid wild animals with which the pets might come into contact with, Russell said,
Dogs and cats who are considered "indoor animals" should also be vaccinated because these pets often have exposure to other animals, either by the dog or cat unintentionally being let outdoors or by wild bats getting into a house.
The vaccinations must be be given by a licensed veterinarian. If anyone has any questions or concerns relating to the upcoming clinic call Langley's at 264-2206.
Anyone not able to attend the clinic can make an appointment at the animal clinic located one mile east of Thayer on Highway 142, Monday, Wednesday or Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. or on Tuesdays or Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.