Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue

Happy World Rabies Day! Part 2

by User Not Found | Sep 28, 2012

As promised....Part 2

A couple years ago, a stray kitten was brought in from South Carolina to a local animal shelter.  She only stayed at the shelter for a couple of hours before she was adopted.  After she was taken home, she was very, very playful, however she soon started acting very strange, losing energy and slowly went paralyzed.  A short time later, she died and was diagnosed with rabies.  Although uncommon, apparently rabies does come in cute little packages.  There were two other cats and two dogs living in the home.  All had to be quarantined for 6 months at the owners expense.  As we mentioned before, the state laws for Rabies can vary, so make sure you know what specifically pertains to your area.  Since its obvious we live in North Carolina, let’s start there.

1.  Any animal exposed to an animal with rabies must be quarantined for 6 months.

Luckily the adopter’s dogs were up to date, however the cats were not because they were “indoor only”.  Ok, so why did the dogs have to be quarantined?

2.  Any animal exposed to an animal with rabies must be given a booster shot within five days of exposure to avoid quarantine. 

Unfortunately this adopter missed that window so her dogs, although currently vaccinated, were subject to the 6 month quarantine.

 

In addition, the whole family had to receive vaccinations for rabies, as they were all exposed to the kitten.

 

Orange county has recently reported its 9th confirmed case of rabies, this time in a skunk.  The skunk was trying to get into someone’s home and when a woman tried to chase it off, it came after her and bit her foot….yes this is weird!  Luckily she went to the hospital and it was reported to animal control.  As an added bonus, all her pets were in the house and were not exposed to the skunk.  Hooray!

 

In Garner, a dog was euthanized because she was not vaccinated for Rabies.  The family had a fenced yard, but occasionally the dog would get out and go into the woods behind the house.  In a week’s time, she started acting “strangely”, lost her balance and was covered in mud.  When the owner attempted to bathe her, she ran from him, scared of the water.  After testing positive for Rabies, the owner placed signs around the neighborhood letting others in the neighborhood know.

 

In Cary, a dead bat was found in a home which subsequently tested positive for Rabies.  The humans in the home were treated for the exposure.  Earlier this year, this same area reported its first case of Rabies after three dogs were exposed to a raccoon that tested positive for Rabies.  Unfortunately the owner chose to euthanize the dogs since they were not current on their vaccinations.

 

Not that I’m trying to scare you, but Rabies is not just out in the wild jungles…its right in our own backyards.  Ok that’s a little scary.  The only way to avoid the risk is to separate your pets from wildlife and keep your pets vaccinated against rabies.

 

According to North Carolina Public Health Law, dogs are not considered immunized until 28 days after administration of the initial rabies vaccine.  It is important to carefully supervise your dog during those 28 days, because he/she will not be considered immunized and “current” in the eyes of the law, if exposed to rabies during that time. 

 

Regardless of vaccination status, dogs that bite must be quarantined for ten days.  Why ten days you ask??  We talked about how the virus can be incubated for months, however, there is only a small window of time when an animal with Rabies is infectious and can actually pass the virus, that’s right, ten days.  IF the dog has rabies, then during that ten days-time, the dog will develop symptoms, become very ill and die.  We know a dog is infected with Rabies because he/she always dies within ten days of developing infectious symptoms.  ONLY when the dog dies can tissue from the brain can be sent off for testing to confirm it was positive for Rabies.

 

Ok let’s wrap this up before I lose you. 

 

Now that we know what Rabies is and can do, how do we stay far away from it? 

 

Here are some steps you can take to ensure your dog is not exposed to rabies.

  • Keep pets indoors. Supervise pets outside, and abide by all local leash laws.
  • Do not feed pets outside. Pet food attracts wildlife that may carry rabies.
  • Do not feed wildlife, feral cats or feral dogs.
  • Secure garbage cans with wildlife-proof lids.

If you know someone who doesn’t know about Rabies, educate them and help protect humans and animals.  Local health departments are required to organize (or assist other county departments in orga­nizing) at least one countywide public vaccination clinic per year.  Cool!  Oh and Happy World Rabies Day everybody!  

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