A lot of folks are talking about the deaths of two dogs in Washington after they came into contact with rabid bats. Both bats tested positive for rabies and chances of the dogs contracting rabies were high. They were carrying the bats in their mouths.
Neither of these dogs had their rabies vaccination and this was a rural area where many folks don't vaccinate. Both had to be euthanized. Always have your dogs vaccinated.
There was also a recent report about dogs in North Carolina that were bitten by a rabid raccoon. They were also euthanized. (Pets are always euthanized if they don't have a vaccination).
Here are some statistics about rabies:
The New York Times wrote a story about the five things you need to know about rabies earlier this year and I found these two points very interesting.
"Bats are now the most common cause of rabies in the United States, but less than one percent of bats have rabies, and their contact with humans is infrequent. Only one to three people die each year from rabies in the United States."
But what about dogs?
"But experts have shown that annual vaccinations of dogs can eliminate canine rabies, thus stopping almost all human rabies cases. Dog vaccination has eliminated rabies as a major public health problem in numerous countries."
How do you know if a bat or animal is sick or has rabies?
FURIOUS RABIES VS. DUMB RABIES: Though there are several different strains of the virus, there are only two physical...
"There are several different strains of the virus, there are only two physical forms of rabies: furious rabies and dumb rabies. Animals with encephalitic or furious rabies exhibit symptoms such as restlessness, agitation and increased aggressiveness. Animals with paralytic or dumb rabies are usually lethargic, depressed, and partially paralyzed. Both forms eventually lead to coma and death."
There are extreme instances where people have survived rabies but it's highly unlikely.
Rabies is not preventable.
Symptoms of rabies and clinical signs
Once the rabies virus enters the body, it travels along the nerves to the brain. it's the brain tissue this impacts. Look out for the following.
- Excessive drooling
- Difficulty swallowing
- Staggering, paralysis and seizures
Aggressive behavior is common, but rabid animals may also be uncharacteristically affectionate. Experts are seeing the virus in wild animals including bats, raccoons, and skunks.
Signs of rabies will be obvious! You do not want to worry about rabies exposure but having your dogs vaccinated should give you peace of mind. So vaccinating is super important. The cases of rabies we reported on are happening more frequently in certain areas.
Health officials are now warning pet owners in rural areas where vaccinating isn't as common and there is a risk of rabies since the exposure to animals like bats is more likely. Rabies prevention is the message here and there is a high risk where there are animals like raccoons and bats.
This is a viral disease. Pet owners should make the trip as animal rabies can be prevented. Dogs, cats, and ferrets need to be vaccinated.
Does your dog have his rabies vaccination? Leave us a comment below!