Blyth veterinarian estimates 200 attend rabies clinic - May 2, 2019
BY DENNY SCOTT
Blyth Veterinary Services helped to prevent rabies for hundreds of animals over the weekend with a low-cost vaccination clinic.
Veterinarian Lee Siertsema, alongside Registered Veterinary Technician Melissa VanSchaik estimate they see 200 patients a year at the clinic, which has been running for the past several years.
Siertsema explained that, in the past, a rabid animal had been discovered in the area, prompting the clinics.
Blyth Veterinary Services focuses on large animal care and, outside of the clinic, doesn’t see animals like dogs and cats, but Siertsema explained it’s an important event for public health and safety.
Dogs and cats, both those indoors and outdoors, require the immunization, to make sure they don’t catch rabies which, in both humans and animals, often proves to be fatal.
Animals that traditionally live indoors are often the most surprising cases for owners, Siertsema said, but all it takes is getting out once or having another animal, like a bat, enter the house to spread the disease. He urges everyone to go to the clinic and have their cats or dogs vaccinated.
Siertsema said the vaccination event is important because, unlike regular visits to a veterinarian, it allows people to walk in with their animal, get the shot and walk out, all for $30. He said he guesses that many of the people he sees don’t visit a veterinary regularly, so it’s an important service to offer.
The clinic is held with permission of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO) and puts the onus on pet owners to make sure their pets are healthy enough to receive the shot, allowing Siertsema, VanSchaik and the other staff at the clinic to quickly administer the vaccinations in succession.
The next clinic is set for St. Helen’s Community Hall on Friday, May 10 from 1 to 4 p.m. No appointment is necessary and the vaccinations cost $30 cash.