BARC LogoBARC, the City of Houston’s Animal Shelter and Adoption Center, unveiled a new Wellness Center on Wednesday, September 28, 2011, in honor of World Rabies Day. BARC will offer low-cost rabies vaccinations, heartworm testing and other preventative medications through the new Wellness Center. A full description of the services and products is available at the Wellness Center are available at the Wellness Center page on the BARC website. The Wellness Center wi ll be open daily from noon to 6 p.m., with the exception of Mondays and Thursdays when BARC is closed to the public.

The mission of World Rabies Day is to raise awareness about the impact rabies has on animals and humans, how easy the disease is to prevent and how to eliminate the main sources. According to the Centers for Disease Control rabies webpage, rabies is nearly always fatal without proper post-exposure treatment. The rabies virus is also zoonotic, which means that it may be spread from animals to human, and is usually passed via contact with the saliva through a bite from a rabid animal. However, rabies is 100% preventable if companion animals are vaccinated against the virus. If you suspect your pet has been exposed to rabies , consult your veterinarian immediately. If you believe a family member has been been exposed to a rabid animal, contact your family healthcare provider immediately.

In order to increase the number of vaccinated animals, and lower the risk of rabies to the broader Houston animal population, pet owners with limited financial means must have access to affordable pet care. The BARC Wellness Clinic is designed specifically to meet this challenge, and to ensure protection against rabies is available to the vast majority of Houstonians.

The BARC Wellness Center grand opening is one more step BARC is taking to become the best municipal shelter in the United States. For more information, please send an email to BARC.Aid@houstontx.gov or visit the BARC website.