The month of April is the time for all pet owners to take advantage of the reduced rates offered by our Marshall County veterinarians for rabies vaccinations.
According to Tennessee state law, it is illegal to keep any cat or dog more than six months old that has not been vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian.
Rabies can affect all warm-blooded animals, and humans. The most commonly affected wildlife is skunks, foxes, raccoons, and bats. Some animals -- such as mice, rats, chipmunks, squirrels, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, and rabbits -- rarely pose a threat.
Bats are a significant and unusual problem because a person can be unaware of a bat bite.
Therefore, even the remote possibility of bat contact should be taken seriously. For instance, if a bat got tangled in someone's hair, or was found in the house where adults or children were sleeping, you should contact your family doctor or the local health department for advice.
Signs that an animal may be rabid include nervousness, aggressiveness, drooling and foaming at the mouth, and abnormal behavior. At the same time, these could be symptoms of other disorders as well.
If you are bitten or scratched by a domestic or wild animal, or get their saliva into an open wound, immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least five minutes, and then immediately get medical attention.
There is no known cure for rabies. The prognosis is usually death if post-exposure treatment is not begun in a timely fashion. Post-exposure treatment is very costly: $5,000 or more. The inoculations are preventative medicine, not treatment for the disease.
For accurate rabies testing -- if an animal has to be killed, or has died -- it is important that the head is not damaged. For rabies testing the head has to be removed by you or by a veterinarian. The local environmentalist can only accept the head, not the entire animal. After the head is removed it is important that it be refrigerated or iced down (not frozen) and placed in a plastic bag. The local environmentalist should be contacted for additional directions and rabies testing. The transportation and testing of the head is paid for by the state of Tennessee.
Any dog or cat, whether vaccinated or not, which has bitten someone must be confined for 10 days for observation, usually at a veterinarian's office or the rabies-control pound.
It is the owner's responsibility to have their pets vaccinated. If your unvaccinated pet comes in contact with a rabid animal and you decide not to euthanize your pet (highly recommended), a six-month quarantine is required. That's a long time and could be very expensive.
If your unvaccinated pet bites an individual you can euthanize your pet and submit its head for rabies testing. Or, if you can't locate your pet for the required 10-day quarantine, or if the test results are positive, you could be faced with financial responsibility for the post-exposure rabies injections for the bitten individual. There could be other liabilities as well.
The Tennessee Department of Health, Marshall County veterinarians, and our animal control officers are asking residents of this County to do not only what is required by state law, but also the smart thing: vaccinate all pets.
Veterinarians in Marshall County
All of these veterinary clinics are offering the rabies vaccine for $8 per animal during the month of April. Please telephone for an appointment. All the clinics have Saturday morning as well as weekday hours.
Companion Animal Hospital 1340 S. Ellington Pkwy 359-6376
Lewisburg Animal Clinic 1113 East Commerce St 359-5945
Meredith-Warner Animal Clinic 1370 Nashville Hwy 359-3945
All About Animals Veterinary Clinic 5349 Nashville Hwy 364-4228
Chapel Hill Veterinary Services 123 S. Horton Pkwy 364-7799
Dr. Harris from Chapel Hill will be conducting a Rabies Clinic from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 10, in the parking lot of Tractor Supply Company, 150 The Acres, Lewisburg.
Health Department 359-1551
Animal Control 359-5948