Series of rabies clinics in rural county areas to begin

Three local veterinarians will offer low-cost vaccinations for dogs and cats at rabies clinics in mostly rural areas across Jackson County in the coming weeks.

The clinics at Brownstown, Reddington, Kurtz, Medora, Freetown and Crothersville will be conducted by Dr. Kristin Burdorf from Brownstown Veterinary Clinic and Dr. Robert Gillespie and Dr. Jack Gillespie, semi-retired veterinarians from Brownstown.

Robert Gillespie, who will be participating in the program for his 53rd year, said the clinics are more about providing protection for people than they are for animals.

Wild animals, such as skunks and raccoons, carry rabies and can bite a family dog out in the woods, Gillespie said.

“This way, if your dog is vaccinated, it’s not going to bring rabies home to the family,” he said. “Protecting the people is what’s important.”

Gillespie knows firsthand that being bitten by a rabid dog is bad news. He was bitten on the hand by a dog with rabies in the mid-1960s, a time when it was common for veterinarians to see pets infected with rabies.

“I took 14 shots,” Gillespie said of his treatment.

Today, that same antidote can be delivered in three shots, he said.

The clinics are conducted in rural areas because people in cities tend to have better access to veterinarians and generally only have one or two pets.

“We’re targeting people who have a lot of coon dogs or bird dogs, and this saves them some money,” Gillespie said.

A visit to a veterinarian to receive the vaccination would cost a person an office call and the expense of the vaccination. But the office call fee is eliminated at the clinics, Gillespie said.

Sponsors of the clinics include Redding Rebounders, Medora Lions Club, Crothersville FFA, Owen-Salt Creek Township Volunteer Fire Department and Pershing Township Volunteer Fire Department. That support helps keep the cost of the one-year vaccination to $12 per animal.

The cost is up from $10 a year ago because it costs more and more each year to administer the shots, Gillespie said.

Quite a few dogs do not qualify for the three-year vaccines because they need to be vaccinated one year before.

“That is why we only do one-year vaccinations,” he said.

He expects up to 800 animals will be vaccinated at the clinics this spring and believes there has not been a problem with rabies in Jackson County since the clinics began.

Jackson County Health Department works with the veterinarians to offer the service, Gillespie added.

All animals must be at least three months old to receive the vaccination.

Animals that are hard to handle should not be brought to any of the clinics.

If you go

Rabies clinics

Redding Township Volunteer Fire Department, 10021 N. U.S. 31, Seymour, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Owen-Salt Creek Township Volunteer Fire Department, State Road 58 at Harrison Street, Kurtz, 6 to 7:30 p.m. May 6

Carr Township Volunteer Fire Department, 59 S. Perry St., Medora, 6 to 7:30 p.m. May 7

Redding Township Volunteer Fire Department, 10021 N. U.S. 31, Seymour, 6 to 7:30 p.m. May 9

Pershing Township Volunteer Fire Department, Union Street, Freetown, 6 to 7:30 p.m. May 13

Crothersville-Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department, 200 E. Moore St., Crothersville, 6 to 7:30 p.m. May 15

Brownstown Veterinary Clinic, 1328 W. Commerce St., June 13

Author photo
Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.