rabies awareness month

Skunks are potentially more than a smelly Pepe Le Pew

The First Step to Prevention Starts With The Animal Owner for Rabies Awareness

Rabies is a fatal but preventable viral disease. It can spread to people and pets if they are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal. In the United States, zoonosis (the generic term) is mostly found in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. However, in many other countries dogs still carry rabies, and most rabies deaths in people around the world are caused by dog bites.

The rabies virus infects the central nervous system. If a person does not receive the appropriate medical care after a potential rabies exposure, the virus can cause disease in the brain, ultimately resulting in death. Rabies can be prevented by vaccinating pets, staying away from wildlife, and seeking medical care after potential exposures before symptoms start.

Basic Facts for Rabies Awareness:

  • There are around 7,000 cases, mostly in wildlife species, reported in the U.S. every year. These animals can expose humans or pets to this disease.
  • Wildlife in Colorado that have been found rabid include skunks, foxes, raccoons, bats, deer, mountain lions, and muskrats.
  • Cats are more likely to be infected than dogs. This is probably because they are less likely to be vaccinated and may not be well supervised when outdoors.

The perfect time for vaccinations is during Rabies Awareness Month

All dogs, cats, ferrets, horses and livestock should be vaccinated. Animals that have frequent contact with humans should be vaccinated. Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, even if they appear friendly.
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.

Rabies Awareness: Taking care of a bite wound

Regardless of the risk, bite wounds can cause serious injury such as nerve or tendon laceration and infection. Your doctor will determine the best way to care for your wound, and will also consider how to treat the wound for the best possible cosmetic results.

For many types of bite wounds, immediate gentle irrigation with water or a dilute water povidone-iodine solution has been shown to markedly decrease the risk of bacterial infection.

Wound cleansing is especially important in rabies prevention since, in animal studies, thorough wound cleansing alone without other postexposure prophylaxis has been shown to markedly reduce the likelihood of rabies.

You should receive a tetanus shot if you have not been immunized in ten years. Decisions regarding the use of antibiotics, and primary wound closure should be decided together with your doctor.

Take Action Now during Rabies Awareness Month

Make sure your pets and livestock are current on vaccinations. Any domestic pet exposed must be quarantined, potentially costing you thousands of dollars. Unlike humans, there is NO SHOT that can be given to pets AFTER rabies exposure to fight the disease. If your pet has already had a rabies shot, then exposure requires only a booster shot.

Please do not hesitate to call Full Circle Vet Care at 970-587-5140 to see if your pet is still current on its vaccinations or to schedule your appointment today.

Related articles that you may find interesting – Is There a Future With No Rabies? World Rabies Day 2018 and Have You Scheduled Your Pet Friend Visit to the Vet?

From – CDC
Photo – Pixabay