Rabies still a problem in San Antonio, Montana

An elderly man in San Antonio, Texas that feeds the stray cats, was bitten by a kitten that proved to carry Rabies. This is the second rabid cat in San Antonio this year. Rabies is carried by skunks, foxes, raccoons and bats in the wild and can cross over to domestic animal if not vaccinated. People must still be vigilant around wild animals and unvaccinated animals to ensure they do not get exposed to Rabies. Fourteen people in Texas have died from Rabies in the past 30 years.

See complete story here http://www.mysanantonio.com/health/30077809.html

Another Rabies story comes from Montana where a parent brought a dead bat to school and allowed the children to touch it. School officials took the bat and it tested positive for Rabies. Now all the kids that were exposed will have to take post exposure Rabies injections.

See complete story here http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081003/NEWS01/81003024

Yet one more story of Rabies involves some rescued animals brought back from Iraq. A labrador retriever puppy named Crusader, adopted by a soldier became ill shortly after arriving from Iraq. He was later euthanized and tested positive for Rabies. SPCA is now requiring rabies vaccinations 30 days before boarding planes and entering the United States.

Read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/03/nyregion/03rabies.html?_r=2&ref=nyregion&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

World Rabies day was on September 28, the following is a prevention tips for pet owners.

Rabies – Prevention tips for Pet Owners

Basic facts
•    There are around 7,000 cases of animal rabies, mostly in wildlife species, reported in the U.S. every year.  These animals can expose humans or pets to rabies.
•    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.

Rabies prevention starts with the animal owner
•    All dogs, cats and ferrets should be vaccinated against rabies.  Consider vaccinating valuable livestock and horses.  Animals that have frequent contact with humans should be vaccinated.
•    You can reduce the possibility of your pets being exposed to rabies by not letting them roam free.
•    Spaying and neutering your pets may decrease undesirable behavior, like aggression and roaming.
•    Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals – even if they appear friendly.

Reduce the risk of exposure to rabies from wildlife
•    Don’t leave garbage or pet food outside, as it may attract wild or stray animals.
•    Wild animals should not be kept as pets.
•    Observe wild animals from a distance. Do not feed or handle them – even if they appear friendly.
•    If you see a wild animal acting strangely, report it to city or county animal control personnel.

What to do when your pet bites someone
•    Contact your local health department or local animal control.
•    A dog, cat or ferret that bites a human will need to be examined by a veterinarian.
•    The local public health official will require monitoring of the pet for 10 days, even if it is vaccinated.
•    Report promptly any illness or unusual behavior of your pet to your veterinarian.

What to do when your pet gets bitten by another animal
•    Consult your veterinarian immediately who will examine your pet and assess your pet’s vaccination needs.
•    Contact local animal control if your pet was bitten by a stray or wild animal.
•    If you can identify or safely capture the animal that bit your pet, this will help determine if your pet was exposed to rabies.
•    If your pet is currently vaccinated and possibly exposed to rabies, it will receive a booster vaccination and be subjected to close supervision for 45 days or more as specified by state law or local ordinance.
•    If a rabies-suspect or confirmed rabid animal bites your pet and your pet is not currently vaccinated, the only options are euthanasia (to prevent the development of rabies) or a strict 6 month quarantine (to see if your pet will develop rabies from this potential exposure).

What to do if you are bitten by an animal
•    Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
•    Contact your physician immediately.
•    Report the bite to the local health department to evaluate the need for rabies post exposure prophylaxis.
•    If you can identify or safely capture the animal, you may not need to have shots. Dogs, cats and ferrets can be observed for 10 days to see if they pose a risk of rabies exposure to you. Other animals may be tested for rabies although this requires euthanasia and testing of brain material.
•    Prompt and appropriate preventative treatment after being bitten and before the disease develops can stop rabies infection and prevent the disease.

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