Mobile vet clinic returns to Winnsboro on Sat.

Free microchips, rabies shots offered for pets of Fairfield County residents

Organizer Sonja Murphy, center, registers a pet for the mobile vet clinic’s services. | Barbara Ball

WINNSBORO – Concerned with the decreasing availability of veterinarians in Fairfield County these days, Fairfield County Animal Shelter volunteers are experimenting with a new kind of health care for the county’s small animals – a mobile vet clinic.

“The clinic will be in the parking lot next to the town clock in downtown Winnsboro from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11,” said Sonja Murphy, one of the organizers of the event. “We are all about healthcare for the pets in Fairfield County.”

Along with the clinic on wheels, volunteers with the Fairfield County Animal Shelter will be offering free (two per home) rabies shots for dogs and cats as well as free microchips.

Those who arrive too late to snag the giveaways will have the opportunity to receive vaccinations and other services for their pets at reduced rates (see ad below for a list of charges).

Murphy and other shelter volunteers are focused on the welfare of all animals in the county to the extent that they pooled their own money to pay for the free vaccinations and microchips.

While any pet owners can take advantage of the low-cost mobile vet services, only Fairfield residents will be able to participate in the free rabies shots and microchip services.

“All microchips will be lifetime registered on site for no extra charge,” Murphy said. “We will also make available educational materials on a variety of pet health topics as well as information regarding low cost spay and neuter services.”

The need to bring in a mobile vet clinic underscores the shortage of veterinary care in Fairfield County. Currently, there is only one veterinary clinic in Fairfield, and it has limited hours. Lewis Animal Hospital in Winnsboro is only open three days a week: Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and 2-5 p.m. A recorded phone message directs emergency needs to CVETS in Columbia. Fairfield Animal Hospital on Columbus Road in Winnsboro is closed.   

Because of the limited hours of vet care available in Fairfield, many residents are left without healthcare for their pets or have to go to other counties for care providing if transportation is available. 

Besides providing the mobile vet services on Saturday, Murphy said the volunteers will also be looking for feedback from the community as to what their needs are for their pets. 

“If pet owners who visit the mobile clinic are interested in spay/neuter options, those and the availability of financial assistance to have those procedures done will be explored with the pet owners,” Murphy said.

“We’re now limiting these services to downtown Winnsboro,” Murphy said. “But, in the future I hope we can move out into other areas in the county.  We want to provide rabies vaccinations as it is a public health law,” she said. “With donations, I hope we can lower the cost of rabies vaccines and microchips in the future.”

Murphy said she wants the public to have a full understanding of the benefits of a pet microchip and how they work.

“If a pet becomes lost, a scanner is used by a vet or the animal shelter to detect the chip so the owner can be notified.”

Murphy says she would like to see a basic care, low cost vet clinic attached to the Fairfield County Animal Shelter.

Anyone desiring to donate toward free vaccinations and microchips can contact Murphy at 704-608-9895.

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