Low-cost vaccination clinics curb rabies cases

Low-cost vaccination clinics curb rabies cases

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - More than 100 animals have tested positive for rabies in Arkansas this year.

But none of those have been in Craighead County. The county has not had a positive rabies case in decades.

With the exception of several skunk cases in Lawrence, Sharp and Independence counties, northeast Arkansas as a whole has been clear.

Dr. Jack Jones, a veterinarian with the Northeast Arkansans For Animals (NAFA) low-cost vaccination clinic, attributes this to good luck and clinics like the one he helps.

For nearly a decade, NAFA has conducted monthly low-cost vaccination clinics for low income, disabled, elderly and unemployed residents.

"We're able to serve a lot of people that can't take care of their own health needs," Jones said. "We're grateful to be able to serve the people who are really in need and so far it's working pretty well."

Saturday wasn't any different. Joneboro Animal Control's lobby was full of pet owners and their four-legged friends, and the main vaccination they came for was rabies.

"There is no cure for rabies so prevention is the word," Jones said. "We need to get all the dogs and cats that we can vaccinated against rabies."

Dr. Jones said these animals need a rabies shot once a year. State law requires rabies vaccinations to be given by a licensed veterinarian and does not recognize rabies shots purchased and given by owners themselves.

"There's still a lot of dogs that haven't been vaccinated and there's always a threat of wildlife rabies," Jones said. "It just goes with the territory. If you have woods, you have rabies."

Dr. Jones said taking the time to get a simple rabies shot could not only save a pet's life, but also the pet owner's life.

"Humans with rabies die," Jones said. "That's just the only answer. They're going to die."

That's why NAFA and Jonesboro Animal Control offer discounted rabies vaccinations. For $10, pet owners can avoid this risk.

"We're doing what we can to control a very serious, fatal disease," Jones said.

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