LUMBERTON — Dorris Brayboy was grateful for a discounted rabies shot for Lady.
“It’s really helped me financially because I have so many dogs,” said Brayboy, who lives in Pembroke.
Brayboy and the latest addition to her pack, an excitable black Labrador, were at Pembroke Fire Department on Monday, the first day of the the Robeson County Veterinary Medical Association’s week-long discount program.
The first day of the biannual program, during which rabies vaccinations are offered at a discounted price of $5 to dogs, cats and ferrets, drew 117 pets to six fire departments across Robeson County, down from 278 animals last year.
Participating fire departments included Lumberton Central, Smith’s, Pembroke, Rowland, St. Pauls and Red Springs.
“I don’t know why the people aren’t responding, but we’re really hoping it will pick up,” said David Brooks, a veterinarian at Pembroke Veterinary Hospital who helps organize the program. “We were hoping for a bigger turnout.”
More than 1,750 pets received rabies vaccinations through the program during 2013.
According to Dr. Sonya Chavis, the standard cost of a rabies vaccination and examination at Pembroke Veterinary Hospital is $32. The discounted cost, which does not include examination, is normally $8, but the Robeson County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to donate $3 for each vaccination performed during the clinic after hearing a presentation from Brooks during a recent meeting.
“It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than visiting the office,” Chavis said. “A lot of our clients are on a fixed income.”
Theere were 18 cases of rabies were reported in Robeson County during 2013, but just four so far this year.
“It was extremely wet last year, so animals were having to share same space as humans,” said Bill Smith, director of the Robeson County Department of Health. “Just because the number’s down shouldn’t be taken as a sign that there our less rabid animals. The need to protect dogs and cats is just as great as it was last year.”
Rabies is a deadly viral infection that is mainly spread by infected animals, usually through biting or scratching. Symptoms in humans include a tingling sensation around the infected wound, a fear of water, flu-like symptoms, loss of sight or partial paralysis, anxiety, insomnia, confusion, agitation, abnormal behavior, paranoia, terror, hallucinations and delirium. Rabies can cause death in two to 10 days after symptoms occur.
“One of the reasons we decided to partner with the fire departments for this is because a pet could get rabies and expose that to the owner, which would cause a risk to public health,” Chavis said.
State law requires pets to be vaccinated.
The vaccinations will be offered from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at all 32 fire departments across the county. Dates and locations are as follows:
• Today at Fairmont City, Parkton, Smyrna, Maxton Southeastern, Burnt Swamp-Philadelphus, Rennert and Raft Swamp fire departments.
• Wednesday at Fairmont Rural, Lumber Bridge, Saddletree, Prospect, Deep Branch, Big Marsh and Northwood fire departments.
• Thursday at Shannon, Britts, Pembroke Rural, Whitehouse, East Howellsville and Sterlings fire departments.
• Friday at Allenton, Queheel, Raynham-McDonald, Evans Crossroads, Orrum and Pine Terrace fire departments.
Following its rabies vaccination drive, the Robeson County Veterinary Medical Association will offer discount spay and neuter services to dogs and cats as part of its biannual SNIP initiative from Sept. 2 to Sept 13.
Veterinary clinics participating in SNIP include: Biard’s Animal Hospital in Lumberton; North End Veterinary Clinic in Lumberton; Southeastern Veterinary Hospital in Lumberton; South Robeson Veterinary Hospital in Fairmont; North Star Veterinary Hospital in Parkton; and Pembroke Veterinary Hospital in Pembroke.
For information, call Brooks at 910-521-3431.