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The City Journals

Rabies clinic to help protect area residents, pets from disease

Jun 02, 2017 11:52AM ● By Brian Shaw

Pets wait for rabies vaccinations. (Steve Baker)

By Brian Shaw   |   [email protected]
On what stands to be a busy weekend for South Salt Lake residents with the annual Huck Finn Day taking place as well, the SSL Animal Shelter also plans to put on a rabies clinic Sat. June 10 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at its building on 2274 S. 600 West. 
According to Debbie Pedersen, Animal Services supervisor for the city’s shelter, the clinic they’re putting on in June is not only important, it’s necessary in order for area pets to be out of harm’s way as well as the humans who live around these animals.
“The vaccine is our best fight against the rabies virus and we do have rabies in Utah,” said Pedersen. “It’s mainly seen in bats and even in the valley we had a positive rabid skunk test in the Ogden area about two years ago.”
The reason the vaccine is important is rather simple in theory. According to a recent study by the National Institutes of Health, animals who receive rabies vaccines before they contract the disease stand a far greater chance of survival than those who don’t.
“Inactivated rabies vaccines have been used to pioneer the immunological and economical advantages of intradermal (ID) administration over 35 years,” the study stated.
Rabies is an “infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. People get rabies from the bite of an infected animal. Any wild mammals, including raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes or bats, can have rabies and transmit it to humans.”
It is also possible, but quite rare, according to Pedersen, “for people to get rabies if infectious material from rabid animal, such as saliva, gets directly into the eyes, nose, mouth or a wound.”
Pedersen added that one bite from an infected animal can be fatal to both pets and humans. Therefore, she said it’s incumbent on area residents to act before things get out of hand.
“It is a virus that is contagious to humans and is deadly to all mammals,” added Pedersen. “It’s transmitted by blood and saliva contact from the animal to the human or animal to animal.”
For pet owners, getting the shot makes sense. Pedersen said that at a cost of just $15 for spayed/neutered animals and $40 for those pets non-spayed or non-neutered, it’s reasonable—not to mention the staff will be on hand to support area residents through what she termed will be a rather efficient process.
“Depending on how many people we have—this is our second year doing it and we try to do it twice annually—you come to the shelter, fill out the paperwork and stand in line for about 15 minutes. There’s just a short wait and we have a local veterinarian administer the injection.”
For more information, contact the shelter at 801-483-6024.