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Rabies Vaccination Clinics Scheduled for Two Locations in Garrett County

By Diane Lee, Public Information Officer, Garrett County Health Department

The Garrett County Health Department’s Environmental Health Office will hold two rabies clinics for the vaccination of dogs, cats, and ferrets. Due to COVID-19 the Garrett County Health Department will not be holding any other rabies clinic this year.

The schedule is as follows:

  • Grantsville Fire Department, Monday, September 21, 4-6 p.m.
  • Oakland, Garrett County Health Department, Saturday, October 17, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the following protocol will be required to have your animal vaccinated. All persons must wear a face covering or face shield. Only one person per animal will be permitted in line. All individuals in line must maintain a social distance of at least six feet.

“Garrett County has experienced three cases of rabies so far this year,” said Bryce Manges, Environmental Health Specialist. “Protect your pets and your family from the threat of this virus by bringing your dogs, cats, and ferrets to the clinic in your area.”

The cost of the vaccination is $5 per animal at the clinics. Dogs must be on a leash and under the control of a responsible individual. Cats and ferrets must be brought to the clinic in a cage or a tightly secured box with air holes. If a cage or carrier is not available, the cat must be carried in a pillowcase or suitable cloth sack. Close contact of animals at the clinics increases the risk of bites or scratches. Please be prepared to restrain and control your animals in order to avoid a potential incident.

The Centers for Control of Disease and Prevention (CDC) describes rabies as a preventable viral disease of mammals that is transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and leading to death. Rabies in both humans and pets is preventable by following proper procedures and guidelines.

“Garrett County is very fortunate to have many forms of wildlife,” said Bob Stephens, Garrett County Health Officer. “But, wild mammals – bats, foxes, squirrels, coyotes, skunks and raccoons are the main carriers of rabies. Parents should teach their kids not to play with or touch wild animals and even unfamiliar cats and dogs. While these animals may look friendly, they could also carry the rabies virus which untreated could be fatal. People bitten by these animals should seek prompt medical care. Also, please report stray dogs and cats to Garrett County animal control.”

Although Maryland law requires dogs, cats and ferrets over four months of age to be vaccinated against rabies, they may be adequately vaccinated at three months of age. Dogs and cats need to be revaccinated every three years. Puppies and kittens vaccinated between the ages of three and twelve months, and dogs and cats receiving their first vaccination, must be revaccinated 12 months later. Ferrets need to be revaccinated every year.

County dog and cat licenses will be available at each clinic. License cost is $3 per year for a spayed/neutered animal and $15 for non-spayed/neutered.

“The vaccination of dogs and cats is one of the most critical measures which can be taken by pet owners in protecting their families and themselves from possible exposure to the rabies virus,” Manges said. “Since wildlife rabies continues to be in Garrett County, all pet owners are strongly urged to bring their pets to one of the clinics.”

For more information about rabies or these clinics, call Environmental Health at 301-334-7760 or
301-895-3111.