July 5, 2011 |

Animal Friends hosting rabies clinics throughout county

Animal Friends is hosting a series of low-cost rabies clinics throughout the county this summer. Pet vaccines will be available for $10 each at the following clinics:

• Penn Hills | Sunday, July 10, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., Public Works Garage, 6600 Leechburg Road

• Mount Oliver | Sunday, July 31, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., Hook & Ladder Co., 120 Brownsville Road

• Forest Hills | Sunday, August 14, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., Forest Hills Fire Department (2071 Ardmore Blvd).

• Millvale | Sunday, September 18, 1 – 3 p.m., Christ Lutheran Church, 910 North Avenue

All dogs and cats three months of age and over will be vaccinated on a first-come, first-served basis.  For safety reasons, all dogs must be on leashes and all cats in carriers. 

State law requires all pets over three months of age must be vaccinated against rabies, with non-compliance resulting in $300 per day fines.

Rabies is a disease transmitted by the saliva of an infected animal, which enters the central nervous system and causes a brain infection. It is most commonly spread through a bite from an infected dog, cat, raccoon, fox, skunk, or bat. Left untreated, it is usually fatal.

In animals, rabies can take two forms: "furious" and "paralytic." The "furious" form includes aggression, excessive vocalization, dilated pupils, difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite, restlessness, and/or biting at objects and other animals. The "paralytic" form includes decreased activity, lack of coordination and weakness of the hind legs. As the disease progresses, the animal's lower jaw may drop, and it may drool, be unable to swallow, become paralyzed and die. Some animals may show no symptoms at all and simply die.

Once humans develop symptoms, the disease is almost always fatal, so it's important to seek treatment immediately if you think you've been exposed to rabies.  Early symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat and feeling tired. When the virus moves to the brain, the person may act nervous, confused and upset.

Animal Friends encourages pet owners to protect their pets from rabies by keeping them in the house or under their supervision at all times. If you notice an animal in your yard that is behaving in an aggressive, erratic manner, report the incident to your local police or animal control agency, as it could be showing signs of rabies infection.

For more information about Animal Friends' rabies clinics, call 412-847-7076 or visit www.ThinkingOutsideThe Cage.org.

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