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The arrival of warm weather signals more than spring.
It’s also time to make sure state residents protect themselves and their pets against rabies.
“Rabies is a threat to pets and humans, so all pet owners should have dogs, cats and ferrets vaccinated,” said Sandra Craig of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC) Bureau of Environmental Health Services.
Craig said wild animals carry the disease most often, but domestic pets can contract rabies as well.
In 2013, there were 124 positive cases of rabies confirmed in South Carolina: 68 raccoons, 26 foxes, 17 skunks, six cats, five bats and two dogs.
In Lancaster County, there were six confirmed cases of rabies in 2013.
So far, there have been 26 confirmed cases in animals statewide this year, included one case earlier this month.
According to DHEC, one person was recommended to contact a health care provider for post-exposure treatment after being exposed to rabies by a raccoon that tested positive for the disease in Greenwood County on March 18.
“The disease is fatal once it reaches the brain,” Craig said. “Each year, nearly 275 South Carolinians are recommended to undergo preventative treatment after being bitten by a rabid or suspected rabid animal.”
Last year, more than 19,000 pets were vaccinated in South Carolina. The S.C. Rabies Control Act requires that all dogs and cats have a current rabies vaccination.
For the majority of vaccines, the minimum age to vaccinate puppies and kittens is 3 months of age. Upon vaccination, the pet should wear the serially numbered rabies tag, provided by the veterinarian, around its neck. The licensed veterinarian will also provide a certificate of vaccination.
In Lancaster County, you don’t have to go to a veterinarian to get your dog or cat vaccinated for rabies. The shots are coming to you.
Starting April 1, Faulkner Animal Hospital has scheduled 10 rabies clinics throughout the county for six weeks. Cost is $5 per shot and yearly shots for cats and dogs are $16 each.
For details, call 286-8131.
2010 Rabies clinic schedule
• April 1 – Bethlehem Baptist Church, 1841 N. Rocky River Road, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
• April 3 – White Springs Baptist Church, 1249 Grace Ave., 6 to 7:30 p.m.
• April 8 – The old Winn Dixie (behind Arby’s) 920 N. Main St., 6 to 7:30 p.m.
• April 10 – at Camp Creek Baptist Church, 2386 Camp Creek Road, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
• April 15 – McDonald Green Elementary School, 2763 Lynwood Drive, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
• April 17 – Heath Springs Elementary School, 158 Solar Road, Heath Springs, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
• April 22 – Van Wyck Community Center, 5036 Old Hickory Road, Van Wyck, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
• April 24 – Rich Hill Fire Department, 3089 Rocky River Road, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
• April 29 – Tradesville Community Center, 2851 Old Camden Monroe Highway, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
• May 2 – Elgin Volunteer Fire Department, 114 Tram Road, 6 to 7:30 p.m.