Rabies Facts

  1. Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system.
  2. Rabies can infect any warm-blooded animal.
  3. There is no cure for rabies, and it is almost always fatal. Once clinical signs occur, an infected animal usually dies within five days.
  4. The only way to test for rabies is by examination of the brain tissue of a dead animal. There is no way to test for rabies infection in a live animal.
  5. Rabies virus is spread by contact with the saliva of an infected animal. Transmission is usually through a bite wound, but the disease has been known to spread through a scratch or an existing open wound.
  6. The incubation period — the period of time between exposure to a disease and the onset of clinical signs — for rabies can vary greatly. The typical incubation period is three to eight weeks, but it can be as little as nine days or as long as several years in some rare cases. The incubation period depends on several factors, including the location of the entry wound, the severity of the wound and the animal’s immune system. In general, the farther the wound is from the brain, the longer the incubation period will be.
  7. An infected animal can only transmit rabies after the onset of clinical signs.
  8. Rabies is endemic throughout the continental United States. Hawaii is the only rabies-free state.  Rabies is most prevalent along the East Coast from Florida to Maine and in southern Arizona along the Mexican border.
  9. The most common rabies carriers in the U.S. are raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes.
  10. Human rabies cases in the U.S. currently average two per year. Cases of rabies in domestic pets average 400 to 500 per year.

Rabies Symptoms

  1. The early signs of rabies typically include behavioral changes — the animal may appear anxious, aggressive or more friendly than normal.
  2. As the disease progresses, animals develop hypersensitivity to light and sound. They may also have seizures and/or become extremely vicious.
  3. The final stage of rabies is typified by paralysis of the nerves that control the head and throat — the animal will hypersalivate and lose the ability to swallow. As the paralysis progresses, the animal eventually goes into respiratory failure and dies.

Rabies Laws

  1. Most states have laws mandating rabies vaccinations for both dogs and cats.
  2. Most states also have laws requiring rabies quarantine for animals that have bitten a person or another animal.
  3. Some states also have mandatory rabies quarantine for unvaccinated pets who have been bitten by a wild animal or who have a suspected bite wound of unknown origin.

Why a 10-Day Quarantine?

  1. In almost all states, an animal that has bitten a human or another domestic animal must undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine period. Some states require that this quarantine be carried out in an approved animal control facility, while others may allow the quarantine to be carried out at the owner’s home.
  2. The quarantine is set at 10 days because a rabies-infected animal can only transmit the disease after clinical signs have developed AND once these signs have developed, the animal will die within 10 days.
  3. If the animal lives beyond the 10th day, it can be said with certainty that it was not shedding the rabies virus at the time that the bite occurred.
  4. If the animal dies before the 10th day, it can be tested for rabies. If the test is positive, a human bite victim will still have enough time to receive post-exposure vaccinations and prevent the disease.

Why a Six-Month Quarantine?

  1. In many states, an unvaccinated domestic animal that has been bitten by a wild animal or that has received a suspected bite wound of unknown origin must undergo a six-month rabies quarantine. Most often, state law requires that this quarantine be carried out in an approved animal control facility at the owner’s expense. Because the incubation period for rabies is usually less than six months, this quarantine period is meant to ensure that the animal does not have rabies before it is allowed to come into regular contact with humans and other animals again.
  2. If an owner is unable to comply with this law or cannot afford to pay for the mandatory six-month quarantine, the only alternative for the pet is mandatory euthanasia and testing for rabies.
  3. Keeping your pet’s rabies vaccination up to date will ensure that he never needs to be quarantined for six months, even if he is bitten by a wild animal.

Tips for Protecting You and Your Pets

  1. Know your state’s rabies law! Obtain a copy from your local animal control agency or health department.
  2. Always keep your pet’s rabies vaccine up to date. Puppies and kittens should receive their first rabies vaccination at 12 weeks of age. Pets must be vaccinated again in one year, and then a three-year rabies vaccine is generally administered during the rest of your pet’s life. Many animal control agencies and humane societies offer free or low-cost vaccinations. To find low-cost options in your area, call your local animal shelter.
  3. Keep your pet’s rabies vaccination certificate in an accessible location.
  4. If your pet bites a person or another animal, consult your veterinarian immediately. Most states require that bites to humans be reported to the local health department. An animal control officer may contact you to file this report, and you will be required to show proof of your pet’s rabies vaccination.
  5. If your pet is bitten by another known domestic animal, consult your veterinarian immediately and ask the owner to provide proof of rabies vaccination. If the other animal is not up to date on his rabies vaccine, it is advisable to report the incident to your local animal control authority to ensure that the animal is quarantined appropriately.
  6. If your pet receives a suspected bite wound from an unknown animal or if your pet comes in direct contact with any wild animal, even if no wounds are evident, consult your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian may recommend a rabies booster.
  7. If you are scratched or bitten by any animal, either wild or domestic, consult your physician immediately. If required by your state’s rabies law, your physician will report the incident to your local health department and animal control agency. If the animal is a pet, ask the owner to provide proof of rabies vaccination.

Reducing Your Risk of Getting Rabies From Wildlife

  1. Don’t keep wild animals as pets. Americans keep more than 4.7 million exotic animals as pets — animals that cannot be vaccinated against rabies.
  2. Avoid direct contact with wildlife, dead or alive. Never touch any wildlife with your bare hands. If you find a sick or injured wild animal, call your local animal control agency or humane society and let the experts handle it.
  3. Avoid animals displaying unnatural behavior. Wild animals that are unusually friendly or displaying other unnatural behaviors may have the rabies virus.
  4. Discourage contact between pets and wildlife. Don’t let your pets roam or encourage them to interact with unfamiliar domestic or wild animals.
  5. Feed your pets indoors. Leaving food outside often attracts stray dogs, cats and wildlife to your yard.
  6. Animal-proof your trash. Make sure your trash lids are locked, and don’t leave bags of garbage outside the cans.
  7. Prevent wild animals from getting into the house. Prune tree branches that overhang the roof. Keep screens on windows and cover small openings, such as chimneys, furnace ducts and eaves.
  8. Report all stray animals to animal control. Stray animals may not be vaccinated for rabies. They also run a high risk of exposure to wild animals who carry the disease.
  9. Give your child some guidelines to follow. Do not frighten young children, but make sure they learn some basic rules about protecting themselves from strange or unfamiliar animals.

https://www.americanhumane.org/animals/adoption-pet-care/safety/rabies-facts-prevention.html

Rabies remains a major concern worldwide, killing more than 55,000 people every year. In the United States, one to two people die annually, and there were more than 6,000 reported cases of animal rabies in the U.S. in 2012.

World Rabies Day was officially launched in 2007, and aims to raise awareness about the public health impact of human and animal rabies.

What can YOU do? Vaccinate your animals and keep them away from wildlife that can spread the disease. Rabies is 100% preventable. According to Dr. Charles Rupprecht, chief of the rabies program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Your local veterinarian plays a key role in controlling rabies.”

https://rabiesalliance.org/world-rabies-day/

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Are you and your pet outside hiking, swimming &  running all day? Please make sure your pet stays current with all their vaccinations. 

Vaccinations are beneficial to your family, not just your pet. Leptospirosis and Rabies are contagious to all family members. 

Call or stop by today for a free vaccination schedule. 

LW August Poster

In celebration of World Rabies Awareness Day, we would like to remind you that the first step to protecting your family from rabies is getting your pets vaccinated. Not only is it required by law, but it is an easy and nearly painless way to stop the spread of this deadly virus. Make sure your pet is up-to-date with his or her rabies vaccine. If your pet’s rabies vaccination is overdue, please call our hospital so we can schedule a vaccination appointment!
Along with vaccines, it is important to educate yourself about the rabies virus. The more you know, the better you can protect your family, yourself, and your beloved pets from this deadly virus.

Rabies is carried by warm blooded animals and is typically fatal. Rabies is one of the oldest diseases known to man. Aristotle in 300 B.C. described this disease as being caused by the bite or tooth scratch of an infected animal. He further stated that once the symptoms of the disease appeared in man or animal, death occurred in a few days. This is as true today as it was in ancient times.
Rabies is transmitted through bites and less commonly, scratches. If you are bitten by any wild animal or a pet with no rabies vaccination history or out of date vaccine, you should go directly to the hospital for treatment. If possible, you should try to contain the animal that has bitten you or contact your local animal control officer to assist with the capture of the animal. If you work with wild animals regularly, you should speak to your doctor about getting vaccinated for rabies to prevent infection should you be exposed to the virus.

Keep Away From Wildlife and Unfamiliar Animals

Photo: RaccoonMore than 90% of all animal rabies cases reported to CDC each year occur in wild animals. The main animals that get rabies include raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes.

One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family is to avoid contact with wild animals. Do not feed or handle them, even if they seem friendly.

Unfamiliar animals that are often thought of as pets, such as dogs and cats, should also be avoided. These animals are often in contact with wildlife and can also transmit rabies to humans.

If you see an animal acting strangely, report it to animal control. Some things to look for are:

  • General sickness
  • Problems swallowing
  • Lots of drool or saliva
  • An animal that appears more tame than you would expect
  • An animal that bites at everything
  • An animal that’s having trouble moving or may even be paralyzed

If a wild animal is in or near your home, do not panic! Clear your family from the area and open doors and windows to allow the animal to escape on its own. If the animal doesn’t leave, call your police department or animal control officer. DO NOT try to pick up a wild animal, particularly one that is either cornered or injured. A cornered animal has the instinct to bite. One easy way to prevent wild animals from coming too close to your home is to cover and secure your garbage cans.
Some of the human rabies cases in the United States have been caused by rabies virus transmitted by bats. Awareness of the facts about bats and rabies can help people protect themselves, their families, and their pets. This information may also help clear up misunderstandings about bats. When people think about bats, they often imagine things that are not true. Bats are not blind. They are neither rodents nor birds — and most do not have rabies. And while bats have an evil reputation for sucking blood, only three out of the thousand or so species of bat actually feed on blood. These vampire bats are found only in tropical Central America, and usually feed on livestock blood.

Bats are incredibly beneficial animals and play key roles in ecosystems around the globe, from rain forests to deserts. Bats eat insects, including agricultural pests and mosquitoes. One large brown bat can consume up to 6,000 mosquitoes in one night. The best protection we can offer these unique mammals is to learn more about their habits and recognize the value of living safely with them.
Most pets that have died from rabies were either never vaccinated against rabies or never received booster vaccines. Most people that have died from rabies did not understand how to prevent rabies or the necessary post exposure protocols that needed to be taken.
On September 28th please take the time to educate your family on this serious threat and check to make sure that your companions are protected.
If you have any questions about rabies, the status of your pet’s vaccination, or any other issue, please feel free to contact us.
For complete information about rabies, visit the US Centers for Disease Control’s Rabies Website