September 28 is World Rabies Day — a day to spread awareness about this deadly, but preventable disease.
Rabies affects mammals, including humans and pets, and is one of the deadliest diseases. The good news is that rabies is completely avoidable. As a pet owner, the best thing you can do is know the facts to keep this disease away from yourself and your loved ones.
- There are around 7,000 rabies cases, mostly in wildlife species, reported in the United States every year. Any infected animal can expose humans or pets to rabies.
- Believe it or not, cats are more likely to be infected with rabies than dogs! Probably because they are less likely to be vaccinated and may not be well supervised when outdoors.
Prevention for Pet Owners
- All pets — especially dogs, cats and ferrets — that are in frequent contact with humans should be routinely vaccinated. Consider vaccinating livestock, horses or any animal that has frequent contact with humans. Unvaccinated pets exposed to rabies may be euthanized or put on a strict 6-month quarantine, while vaccinated pets may only need a booster shot.
- Don't allow your pets to roam free without your supervision. Spaying/neutering your pet helps to decrease aggressive and wandering behaviors.
- Don't leave garbage or pet food outside that may attract wildlife.
- Never handle or feed unfamiliar animals and teach your children to do the same — even if the animals seem friendly.
- Report any strange behaving animals to your city or county animal control.
What To Do When an Animal/Pet Bites
- If your pet bites someone or displays unusual behavior, contact your local health department or animal control right away.
- If your pet gets bitten by another animal, consult your veterinarian immediately. They will need to examine your pet and asses its vaccination needs.
- If you are bitten by an animal, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water. Then contact your physician immediately and report the bite to the local health department.
- It will help to determine exposure to the virus if you can identify or safely capture the animal that bit you or your pet.
If you have questions or would like to check your pet's rabies vaccination status, please call us at (401) 433-2070.