Lone Star College–Tomball Veterinary Technology students are joining the fight against rabies and will observe "World Rabies Day" by providing $5 rabies vaccinations for Tomball area pets.
On Saturday, September 8, at the Lone Star College–Tomball Large Animal Facility, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Lone Star College–Tomball Veterinary Technician Student Organization, along with Vet Tech faculty and staff, will administer vaccines and handle the certificate and tag registration requirements for the State of Texas, says Director of the Lone Star College–Tomball Veterinary Technology program and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine George W. Younger, DVM.
The $5 charge includes the vaccine, certificate and rabies tag, says Younger.
World Rabies Day is a collaborative effort begun by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kansas State University. This rabies awareness day is supported by various partners including the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the American Animal Hospital Association. The purpose of this effort is to raise awareness of the continued need for rabies vaccinations, says Younger.
"Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system of mammals. Most cases of rabies occur in wild animals - mainly skunks, raccoons, bats, coyotes and foxes; however in recent years cats have become a more common domestic animal infected with rabies. This is because many cat owners do not vaccinate their cats before the cats are exposed to the outdoors," says Younger.
Improved vaccination programs and control of stray animals have been effective in preventing rabies in most pets, says Younger.
"But we cannot become complacent about this issue because it is a very serious disease that is deadly for animals and humans," says Younger.
The well-publicized Houston area-death of a high school student who was bitten by a rabid bat brought some increased awareness to the issue, says Younger, but events such as World Rabies Day should be observed to serve as a reminder for those with pets of their responsibility to their animal and to the public.
"Fortunately there are effective anti-rabies biologicals to treat the disease in people who have been bitten by a rabid animal if they receive it in time. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing if the family pet has been exposed to a rabid animal unless we witness them being bitten by a rabid animal. This is why vaccination and protection is so very important in our household pets. If a rabid wild animal bites our pet, then the entire family is at risk if the pet is not immune, says Younger.
"The only real way to make sure that your pet doesn't get rabies and that your family is protected from exposure is to have pets vaccinated every year," says Younger.
Even though the State of Texas has approved a three-year requirement for rabies vaccinations for many counties here in Texas, Dr. Younger and his colleagues recommend that pet owners stick to vaccinating their animals annually.
"It is very cost effective and convenient to do annual rabies vaccinations and there is evidence that going past a year might not fully protect your animal," says Dr. Younger. "I have seen dogs with litters of puppies vaccinated at the three-year interval challenged by a rabid skunk at one and one-half year post inoculation and have the female and all her pups die of rabies."
Younger says he hopes the public will take advantage of Lone Star College–Tomball's participation in World Rabies Day.
"We invite those in the community with pets such as dogs, cats, or ferrets to bring them in and get a rabies vaccine if they are in need of it to ensure that their animal doesn't get this awful yet, highly preventable, disease."
The Lone Star College–Tomball Veterinary Technology Program offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree that leads to state registration and national recognition as a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT); and a certificate program which results in becoming a Certified Veterinary Assistants (CVA).
"The RVT is like a nurse and then some, as it applies to the field of veterinary medicine," Younger says. "RVT's do for animals all the things an RN does for human patients, but they have an additional array of skills that include taking digital and conventional x-rays, developing x-rays, ultrasound diagnostics, operating laboratory equipment and many other tasks. It's actually easier to outline what they can't do, which is make a diagnosis, prescribe treatment, or perform surgery," tasks reserved for the licensed veterinarian.
"Following along with the RN analogy, the student who completes the certificate program and earns the CVA title is similar to an LVN in nursing," he says.
For more information on the Lone Star College–Tomball Veterinary Technology program, please call (281) 357-3615 or visit the Lone Star College–Tomball website, at http://tomball.lonestar.edu/116660/.
Tomball College is a member of the Lone Star College System. Lone Star College System comprises Lone Star College–CyFair, Lone Star College-Kingwood, Lone Star College–Montgomery, Lone Star College-North Harris, Lone Star College–Tomball, six satellite centers and The University Center.