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Low-cost rabies vaccination clinic planned

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Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2019 12:00 pm

With two more confirmed cases of racoons contracting rabies and persistent concerns that more area pets in the area need to be vaccinated against the deadly disease, a rabies vaccination clinic has been scheduled for Saturday, July 13, at Boyle’s Bandera True Value hardware.

Dr. Conrad Nightingale, a veterinarian at the Hill Country Veterinary Hospital and Equine Center and a rabies control officer for Bandera County, announced last week that the clinic was being scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and that organizers had taken strides to see that the cost of the rabies vaccine was as inexpensive as possible.

“We need to see that people are taking care of their pets,” he said.

A flyer put together on the clinic said rabies vaccines for both dogs and cats would be available for $10 per animal.  Vaccines for kennel cough and distemper in dogs and distemper and leukemia in cats also were going to be offered at the clinic for prices of between $15 and $20.

Organizers said the vaccines would be sold at the clinic for cash only.

Another clinic could be scheduled for July 27 if the rabies count in the county continues to grow and the turnout for this week’s clinic falls below expectation, Nightingale said.

The confirmed rabies count in Bandera County reached six in the last week when a racoon that had been killed in the 200 block of Doe Creek Road on June 30 tested positive for the disease on Wednesday, July 3, and when another racoon taken down on Old Orchard Lane between Bandera and Pipe Creek on July 1 also was shown to be carrying rabies.

The case on Doe Creek Road initially had been reported as coming from the area of Old San Antonio Highway and had not been confirmed as rabies when the count was tallied last week.

The racoon that tested positive from Old Orchard was reported by Nightingale and had not been tallied by the Bandera County Sheriff’s Department this week, meaning deputies had not been involved in the handling of the animal.

Nightingale said seven confirmed rabies cases have been handled by veterinarians in Bandera County, though one of those, a fox that had been killed in late June on Snake Road, came from Kerr County.

Whichever count is used to track the outbreak this year, it is larger than animal health officials normally see and is a problem that has struck the entire region.

Nightingale said in Bandera County, the outbreak has been concentrated more in the eastern area of the county than the western side, but that’s largely because a heavier concentration of people live in the east end so there is more of a chance that people are coming into contact with animals that potentially have the disease there.

The outbreak first appeared when a racoon killed in the area of the Flying L Ranch Resort on April 23 was confirmed to have rabies.

Other cases in the county have come from the 1400 block of Highway 16 North in Bandera, from Lakeshore Drive in the Wharton’s Dock area and from the 300 block of Diana Lane.  All the animals that came down with the disease were racoons, except for the May 23 incident on Lakeshore Drive which involved a fox.

Bandera County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Matt King said the county normally has some wild animals test positive for rabies each year, but the count is a lot higher this year.

He considered the outbreak severe and continued to urge residents not to feed animals outside, which would leave food near homes that could attract infected animals into populated areas, to get their pets vaccinated and to be extremely cautious about any wild animals.

Anyone who sees a stray animal or a wild animal that is acting in an unusual fashion is encouraged to call the sheriff’s department dispatch at 830-796-3771 to have the animals picked up.  For any emergency situations, people should call 9-1-1, King said.

Pet owners have been encouraged to make sure their animals are vaccinated against the disease and to keep those vaccinations up to day.

Authorities said more pet owners have been coming into veterinary offices for vaccines since the outbreak started but they had hoped to see more.

The vaccination clinic on Saturday is designed to get more vaccinations completed.  The True Value store is at 1002 Main St. in Bandera.

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