Pet owners attend low-cost rabies clinic

Apr 30, 2019

Pet owners came out in force for a low-cost rabies clinic in Onset, eager to get their animals vaccinated for only $14 a shot.

The clinic was sponsored by the Wareham Department of Natural Resources Animal Control Division, in conjunction with Brockton-based J.M. Pet Vet. Besides vaccines, the clinic offered microchips for $25 each as well as discounted flea and tick products.

“Usually, the vaccine would cost someone at our hospital around $61 because patients would pay for the exam and the vaccination,” said J.M. Pet Vet. Administrator, Joyce Poliatti. “Today, we are vaccinating without an exam, just as a community project to try and get as many pets vaccinated as possible.”

Poliatti mentioned that hospital had previously held clinics in Wareham at Tremont Nail Factory. This year, J.M. Pet Vet. At the April 30 clinic, staff vaccinated 53 animals, including 36 dogs and 17 cats. Veterinarians also injected three microchips and performed nine nail trims.

“We think it is really important to support the community. We want to make sure that pets are protected,” said Poliatti. “The people from Wareham Animal Control Division are very great to work with so we would like to be able to repeat it.”

Leashed dogs and crated cats waited with their owners outside of J.M. Pet Vet’s mobile veterinary hospital. Inside, the procedure lasted a few seconds.

“The needle just goes under the animals’ skin and does not touch the muscle, so it doesn’t bother them that much,”  said veterinarian Dr. Michelle Brown. “They are more nervous about being restrained.”

Dr. Brown noted that Massachusetts law requires dogs, cats, and ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies. The virus travels through the nervous system once a person or animal is infected through contact with the saliva of an infected animal. After a gestation period of three to six months, it attacks the brain, at which point the virus is fatal.

“There is a risk to human health. Rabies is a 100 percent fatal disease,” said Dr. Brown. “By the time you have signs, it’s too late. It’s already gotten into your brain, and virtually nobody survives rabies infection. There is no treatment for it.”