NEW YORK (October 1, 2010) — Pfizer Animal Health announced it has donated more than 50,000 doses of rabies vaccine to animal shelter organizations across the United States as part of World Rabies Day, which was Tuesday, Sept. 28.
Pfizer partnered with the Global Alliance for Rabies Control’s Shelter Program to offer the free vaccine doses to more than 130 shelters and clinics nationwide, allowing 50,000 pets to be protected against this deadly disease, as well as reducing the risk of human exposure in communities across the country. The vaccine donation and support of World Rabies Day are a component of Pfizer’s Commitment to Veterinarians, which supports veterinarians through training and education, research and development, and investing in the future of the veterinary profession.
“Veterinarians at shelters across the country can often feel helpless to protect pets from diseases like rabies due to lack of funding for basic preventive therapies such as vaccines,” said David Haworth, DVM, Ph.D, Director of Global Alliances at Pfizer Animal Health. “With this donation, Pfizer is doing a small part to help veterinarians help some of their most vulnerable patients.”
Rabies is the oldest and deadliest disease known to mankind, according to the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, which created World Rabies Day to raise awareness and understanding about the importance of prevention. World Rabies Day brings together hundreds of thousands of people across the world to reinforce the message that rabies is a preventable disease, yet kills 55,000 people needlessly each year—half of whom are children under the age of 15.
Rabies is a viral disease that can be transmitted to animals and humans. The disease is transmitted mainly by bite, but exposure may also occur through contamination of broken skin or mucous membranes with saliva from an infected animal. Once neurological symptoms of the disease develop, rabies is fatal to both animals and humans. The good news is that rabies is easily preventable.
“We’re proud to support the efforts of the Global Alliance for Rabies Control,” said Haworth. “As a veterinarian, I know how devastating a lack of rabies vaccine can be on shelter animals. It’s painful. It’s unnecessary. And, we want to help avoid this, as well as its spread to others.”
On World Rabies Day, Pfizer Animal Health encourages all pet owners to check the status of rabies vaccinations for their animals. If the pet is due for a rabies vaccination, or any vaccination, schedule an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Tips to avoid rabies exposure:
• Avoid contact with stray animals and wildlife.
• If you are bitten, wash bite wounds with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.
• If your pet is bitten, consult your veterinarian immediately.
• Prompt and appropriate treatment after being bitten and before the disease develops can stop rabies infection and/or prevent the disease in humans and animals.
For more information on World Rabies Day, please visit www.WorldRabiesDay.org.