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Pet owners in urban South Florida often don't consider rabies a threat to their animals. But at least eight people had to receive rabies shots just last month after being bitten by a kitten, living in a feral cat colony west of Boca Raton.
World Rabies Day, coming up this Sunday and in its second year, seeks to spread information about this disease that is easily preventable. More than 600,000 animal vaccinations in 74 countries were administered last year through World Rabies Day events. In Africa, where rabies is a serious problem, most of human deaths are in children under age 15.
Rabies cases have been reported in every state except Hawaii, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and are especially prevalent in the country's east coast states. The disease is caused by a virus, secreted in the saliva, that attacks the nervous system and can be fatal. Only mammals can get rabies. Here is what you can do to protect your pets, from the American Veterinary Medical Association:
* Have your pets vaccinated. * Try to keep your cats and ferrets indoors as much as possible, and supervise dogs when outside. * Don't leave uncovered garbage or pet food outside, as it may attract wild or stray animals. * Teach children never to approach or touch any animal they do not know, even if it appears friendly. * Observe wild animals from a distance and if they are acting strangely, call animal control officers. * Do not keep wild animals as pets.
Does your pet need a rabies vaccine? Here are some inexpensive options:
Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control will have a low-cost rabies clinic tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 27, at Micanopy Pavilion in Okeeheelee Park, off Forest Hill Boulevard in West Palm Beach. Cost is $15 for a rabies shot and microchip. Click here for more information or call 561-233-1200.
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Source : http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2008-09-26/features/0809280039_1_rabies-vaccinations-low-cost-rabies-clinic-rabies-cases