SIMCOE MUSKOKA DISTRICT HEALTH UNIT
Low-cost rabies clinics, an affordable way to get rabies shots for dogs and cats over three months old, are available again this year in Simcoe County.
Low-cost rabies clinics are offered annually by local veterinarians who generously give their time to participate in the program and operate the clinics.
The first clinic will be held on Sunday, Sept. 25 in Tottenham, with additional clinics in Penetanguishene, Barrie, Oro-Medonte and Thornton, through to Oct. 29. A schedule of clinics is listed on the health unit’s website at smdhu.org/RabiesClinics.
One- and three-year vaccines are being offered at clinics, depending on the animal’s vaccination status. Pet owners should speak with their vet to determine when their pet is due for its next rabies vaccination. It helps to bring the previous vaccination certificate to a clinic to make sure which vaccine is best.
“Cats and dogs are part of the family and vaccinating them against rabies protects them and the human members of your family,” said Felicia Ratiu, rabies program co-ordinator at the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “Vaccinating pets against rabies is also required by law and these clinics are an affordable option for pet owners.”
The clinics provide vaccines against rabies to thousands of pets annually. Anyone unable to attend the limited low-cost clinic locations can contact their local veterinarian to arrange to get their pet vaccinated.
Thanks to vaccination, the baiting of wild raccoons, skunks and foxes, and public awareness, Ontario’s incidence of rabies is lower than many other areas in North America.
In addition to vaccinating your pet, you can help prevent the spread of rabies by not allowing cats or dogs to roam free and keeping them indoors at night. Remind your family to stay away from unfamiliar dogs and cats, as well as all wildlife, including bats.
Rabies is a fatal disease that can spread to humans through the bites or scratches of an infected animal. In 2021, health unit staff investigated 1,603 animal exposure incidents. Many of the investigations resulted in rabies vaccines for people as a precaution.
For information on clinic times and dates visit the health unit website at smdhu.org/RabiesClinics, or call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.