SPOTSWOOD, NJ - A free rabies clinic is on tap for Saturday, May 4 from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. at the Spotswood Municipal Building. All dogs must be on leashes and all cats should be in a carrier.

Rabies is a viral infection, which is spread through saliva. In the United States, the disease is typically spread by foxes, bats, raccoons, coyotes and skunks. Rabies can be transmitted to people by an animal bite. Once rabies symptoms appear, the disease is almost always fatal. Symptoms in humans can appear anywhere from a few days to 12 days and include fever, headache, nausea and vomiting. Initial symptoms mimic the flu and will worsen quickly. 

Symptoms in animals often include a change of behavior with animals wanting to be left alone. They also usually stop eating or drinking. For rabies treatment to be successful in people, it needs to be administered prior to the appearance of symptoms, which is why medical treatment after any animal bite or contact with a rabies-infected animal is crucial.

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The easiest way to prevent the spread of rabies is by vaccinating pets. Each state has different laws regarding pets and rabies vaccinations. According to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, dogs and cats receiving their initial rabies vaccination will be granted one year of immunity on their rabies certificate. Afterwards, a dog or cat can receive a three-year rabies vaccine. It is important for pet owners to keep their dog or cat's rabies vaccination records up-to-date. Dogs and cats that are considered too young to receive their first rabies vaccination should avoid contact with unvaccinated animals and should not be left outside unattended.

The Spotswood Municipal Building is located on 77 Summerhill Road in Spotswood.