Pet owners turn out for Fort Lupton vaccination clinic

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More than 200 animals receive shots to combat rabies, other diseases

By Ben Wiebesiek

FORT LUPTON — The line was around the block for last Saturday’s vaccination clinic at the Fort Lupton Veterinary Hospital, 1025 First St.

Larry McMillan, the veterinarian who runs the hospital, has put on the clinic for over a decade as a way of supporting the community.


“I would say there around 210 [visitors], give or take a couple,” McMillan said. “I think a lot of people took advantage of the price. It was way less than half price for all the vaccinations.”

During the vaccination clinic, a complete pet inoculation for dogs was only $20, and for cats, $35.

“It satisfies the legal requirements of the city, that’s the number one thing,” McMillan said. “Number two, it protects from communicable diseases in the neighborhood, for example, cats to cats and dogs to dogs. It prevents contagious diseases such as distemper or parvo, particularly.”

McMillan said the vaccinations were an important step to reducing the number of positive rabies cases in the area.

“There have been more than several positive rabies in Weld County and Boulder County,” McMillan said. “And some of them have been in horses.”

According to the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment, a skunk was found near Fort Lupton Dec. 11, 2013, which tested positive for rabies. The department keeps a map of positive rabies cases at www.co.weld.co.us. The next closest discovery was a cat that tested positive for rabies in Platteville last year.

“There has been a general increase, but what’s interesting, is that we haven’t seen it in horses before,” McMillan said. “But mainly cats and dogs that roam outside, foxes and skunks are probably the biggest carriers in this community.”

Wild animals are much more likely to carry rabies, especially raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes, and coyotes. However, dogs, cats, cattle (cows), or any warm-blooded animal can pass rabies to people. People usually get rabies from the bite of an infected animal.

“And subsequent to that, if an animal comes up positive, any people exposed to that pet then has, not only legal problems, but that pet has to be held for up to 10 days at the owners request, or it might even have to be euthanized and the brain examined,” McMillan said. “Rabies is a disastrous disease, so by vaccinating 200 animals, we’ve eliminated possibly 200 people worrying about their dog if it bites another dog or somebody.”

Although the final numbers are being tabulated, McMillan speculated that the turnout was slightly better for this year’s clinic.

“I’m pretty sure it was more than 10 percent higher than last year,” McMillan said.

He pointed to the work of Fort Lupton’s animal control department for making the clinic a success.

“They were instrumental for this,” McMillan said. “They furnished extra tables and their time.”

Terrie Asay, with the city’s code enforcement department, and Mary Albee, the community service officer with the Fort Lupton Police, were on hand during the clinic to help pet owners process licenses.

“Without them, it won’t work,” McMillan said. “It made it a one-stop shop.”

For residents who missed this clinic, McMillan said his office was hosting another in Lochbuie next weekend.

In the past, the success of the program also comes down to good luck: good weather leads to better attendance from the public. The range has been between 200 during years with plenty of sunshine, and down as low as 60 when the weather had been bad.

“It was a nice day and we had good turnout,” McMillan said. “I’m always frankly amazed by how many people turn out.”


Contact Ben Wiebesiek at 303-659-2522, ext. 205, or email bwiebesiek@metrowestnewspapers.com.