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Rabid engagement at Westwood clinic

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By Richard K. McDonough
Hometown Weekly Correspondent

The Westwood Rotary Club and Veterinary Services of Westwood collaborate on a Rabies Vaccination Clinic to make sure the community is safer for Westwood’s pets and citizens. With the New Year comes the responsibility of making sure that certifications and permits are up-to-date and valid. For pet owners, this means making sure that their pets have been properly vaccinated. New laws in Massachusetts have made rabies shots required every three years. It is of utmost importance for pet owners to have their pets vaccinated within the proper time span. The now-annual Rabies Clinic has been providing the community with a way ensure the safety of their pets - and by extension, the whole town.

Rabies is a preventable viral disease which impacts the central nervous system. It is most commonly transmitted through animal bites. If untreated, symptoms can include anxiety, fever, weakness, partial paralysis, hallucinations and ultimately death, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. To counteract this disease, the Westwood Rotary Club organized the Rabies Clinic to provide a safe and convenient environment for Westwood residents to have their pets vaccinated.

In addition to vaccinations, members of the community could also acquire licenses for new unregistered pets at the clinic. Charging $15 for the vaccinations and with affordable licenses varying on each pet, the proceeds from this event would be deposited into the Community Chest. The Community Chest services citizens both locally and far from home. The money goes towards public projects ranging from funding for water purification to (as was recently the case) providing aid for the families from Cambridge who were forced out of their homes due to fire damage.

“We’re always looking for ways to help the community by raising funds,” said Dottie Powers. As Town Clerk, Powers’ office is responsible for all licenses.

In addition to the involvement from local government, the Rabies Clinic required the expertise of the professionals from Veterinary Services of Westwood. Providing the vaccinations and answering questions from those in attendance, Dr. Carolyn Thorne and her staff offered their time to ensure a healthier and safer community.

“Two years ago, we had a documented case of rabies in Westwood, and we want to make vaccination available to all who need them,” explained Dr. Thorne.

She and her staff made sure that all animals brought in were treated in a humane and respectful manner. The clinic was proven a success by doubling the number of vaccinations given at last year’s clinic within the first two hours of opening.

For those who were not able to attend the clinic, there are still opportunities for members of the community to have their pets vaccinated, licensed, or both. Veterinary Services of Westwood can still provide vaccinations; their offices are located at 252 Providence Highway with office hours of 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pet licenses can be acquired at Westwood Town Hall, located at 580 High Street, with office hours of 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

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