Snow Hill, MD – The Worcester County Health Department has confirmed six rabies cases locally since the beginning of 2018, highlighting the importance of rabies awareness and proper pet vaccination. Rabies vaccination clinics are available in May in two locations in the county. Worcester Health encourages residents with unvaccinated pets, or pets whose vaccinations have lapsed and need a booster, to attend the low-cost clinics and to avoid contact with wild animals, particularly those who are acting sick or in an unusual manner.
Maryland law requires all owners of dogs, cats and ferrets over four months of age to have their pets adequately vaccinated against rabies. Spring vaccination clinics cost $5.00 for Worcester County residents with proof of residency and $10.00 for non-County residents. If this is not your pet’s first rabies vaccination, the previous vaccination certificate must be provided in order to receive a 3-year shot; otherwise, a 1-year shot will be given. Locations, dates and times for the clinics are:
- Bishopville Fire Department
Main Fire House at 10709 Bishopville Road, Bishopville, MD
Wed., May 16, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
- Worcester County Animal Control
Timmons Rd. (off US RT 113), Snow Hill, MD
Thurs., May 17, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
While raccoons are the most frequent carriers of rabies, a deadly viral disease, in Maryland, domestic pets are also at risk. Cats are the number one domestic animal species most likely to be unvaccinated and are at a higher risk of exposure to rabid wildlife while outdoors.
Worcester Health offers the following tips for avoiding contact with rabies this spring:
- Have your dogs, cats, and ferrets vaccinated regularly and keep those vaccinations current in accordance with the law, especially outdoor cats.
- Do not let your pets roam free- they are more likely to have contact with a rabid wild animal.
- Avoid feeding your animals outside; this draws stray and wild animals to your doorstep. If you must feed outdoors, do not leave the food out overnight and clean up any spillage. Cover your garbage cans securely.
- Avoid sick animals and those acting in an unusual manner and teach your children not to approach wild animals and animals they don’t know.
- If your pet has contact with a wild animal, avoid touching your pet with bare hands (wear gloves) and do not touch the wild animal. Report the incident immediately to the Health Department or your local police in order to arrange testing of the wild animal, if available, and consult your veterinarian.
At the clinics, all dogs must be leashed and under the control of an adult while all cats and ferrets must be in a carrier or box with air holes. For further information regarding the clinics, please call 410-641-9559 or 410-632-1340. For more information on rabies visit www.worcesterhealth.org