Low-cost rabies vaccine clinics for pets returning to Simcoe Muskoka region

Low-cost rabies clinics, an affordable way to get rabies shots for dogs and cats over three months old, are available again this year in Simcoe County. Global News

To help protect pets and their owners, low-cost rabies vaccine clinics are returning to Simcoe County, Ont., later this month.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit said the low-cost rabies clinics are an affordable way to get rabies shots for dogs and cats over three months old.

Low-cost rabies clinics are offered annually by local veterinarians who give their time to operate the clinics.

“Cats and dogs are part of the family, and vaccinating them against rabies protects them and the human members of your family,” said Felicia Ratiu, rabies program coordinator at the health unit.

“Vaccinating pets against rabies is also required by law, and these clinics are an affordable option for pet owners.”

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The first clinic will be held on Sunday, Sept. 25 in Tottenham, with additional clinics in Barrie, Oro-Medonte, Penetanguishene and Thornton, through to Oct. 29.

Pet owners can choose a one or three-year vaccine, depending on the animal’s vaccination status.

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Before attending the clinics, the health unit recommends pet owners speak with their vet to determine if their pet is eligible and ask that they bring their pet’s previous vaccination certificate to help determine which vaccine is best for their animal.

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The low-cost clinics help thousands of pets get vaccinated against rabies annually.

Thanks to rabies vaccination, the health unit said, along with the baiting of wild raccoons, skunks and foxes and public awareness, Ontario’s incidence of rabies is lower than many other areas in North America.

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In addition to vaccinating pets, health officials recommend people not let their cats or dogs roam free and to keep them indoors at night. They also encourage people to avoid unfamiliar dogs and cats, as well as all wildlife, including bats.

Rabies is a fatal disease that can spread to humans who are bitten or scratched by an infected animal.

In 2021, health unit staff investigated 1,603 animal exposure incidents, many of which resulted in rabies vaccines for people as a precaution.

Anyone unable to attend the limited low-cost clinic locations can also contact their local veterinarian to arrange to get their pet vaccinated.

For clinic times and dates, visit the health unit website or call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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