Rabies clinics narrow locations

Rabies clinics for dogs and cats aren’t going to be conducted at various sites around Jackson County this year.

Retired veterinarians Robert and Jack Gillespie recently informed Dr. Kristin Burdorf with Brownstown Veterinary Clinic that because of their age, they weren’t going to continue helping with the clinics.

Instead, Burdorf will offer three rabies clinics in the red large-animal facility behind her clinic at 1328 W. Commerce St., Brownstown. The first one is from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. The others will be from 1 to 4 p.m. June 11 and Sept. 17.

“I’d love to be able to travel all over the county like they did, but I don’t have the time or resources,” Burdorf said. “I think we need to be able to provide something for (people) so they are at least getting what’s legally required by the law so that their pet is kept safe and they are kept safe.”

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that can infect humans, pets, livestock and wildlife. Preventing the disease in animals provides the best means of protection to humans, according to the Jackson County Health Department.

Under Indiana law, all dogs, cats and ferrets older than three months of age must be vaccinated against the rabies virus. The vaccine must be administered by a licensed and accredited veterinarian.

At the clinics, Burdorf’s staff will have people fill out paperwork and receive a rabies certificate and payment before she gives their dog or cat a rabies vaccine.

People are asked to keep their pet on a leash. If a dog is aggressive, Burdorf said, the owner should leave the animal in the vehicle and go to the barn to fill out paperwork and she will come to the vehicle to administer the vaccine.

A rabies vaccine for a dog or a cat is $12. One dollar of that goes to Red Sky Rescue, a dog shelter in Medora, and another dollar goes to Jackson County 4-H.

“I think it kind of helps both ends of the community,” Burdorf said. “4-H is kind of for some of the large-animal guys, and I think 4-H is a great thing to have within the community, and it really promotes leadership in our young people. And we do a lot of work for Red Sky, and they need the money.”

It’s an additional $15 for a dog booster, which protects against distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus, parainfluenza and leptospirosis.

“Those are all diseases we have issues with in this county, and so my recommendation is that your dog get vaccinated every year for that,” Burdorf said.

It’s an additional $20 for a cat booster, which protects against upper respiratory viruses and feline leukemia.

“If they are an outside cat and have exposure to other cats, that will provide an extra level of protection against leukemia,” Burdorf said.

During last year’s clinics, Burdorf said the Gillespies gave rabies vaccinations to about 700 pets, while she did about 300 at her office.

Rabies vaccines can be administered any time at a veterinary office, but Burdorf said people also would have to pay for a full examination of the pet. The clinics, on the other hand, offer low-cost vaccinations and take less time.

With a master’s degree in public health, Burdorf said she understands how rabies is a public health concern.

“If we have a bunch of animals running through the county that are not vaccinated for rabies, we increase our incidents of rabies becoming an issue in animals and potentially having that be exposure to humans or someone getting bit by a rabid animal,” she said.

Just recently, she said, a bat tested positive for rabies in Bartholomew County. Last year, two bats brought to her clinic and sent to a state laboratory came up rabies positive, and both had human exposure.

Also recently, two dogs tested positive for rabies and had human exposure in Tennessee.

“People maybe see it as an inconvenience because it’s a state law that’s requiring it, but there’s a reason for that,” Burdorf said of the rabies vaccine. “It’s not just to protect your pet, but it’s to protect you and the people in your household and the people who become exposed to your animal.”

If you go

What: Rabies clinics

When: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday; also will be offered from 1 to 4 p.m. June 11 and Sept. 17

Where: Inside the large-animal facility behind Brownstown Veterinary Clinic, 1328 W. Commerce St., Brownstown

Cost: $12 for rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats; $15 for dog booster and $20 for cat booster; $1 of each vaccination goes to Red Sky Rescue, and another $1 goes to Jackson County 4-H

Information: 812-358-2947

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.