You may see scarier things than ghouls and ghosts this Halloween. Rabies is scarier than you may think. In fact, The Metro Health Rabies Laboratory recently confirmed the second case of rabies in a domestic cat this year. The cases, from Kendall and Wilson counties, were identified as unvaccinated pets or previously vaccinated pets not on a current vaccination. Rabies is an extremely deadly but preventable disease.
“It’s imperative everyone understands the importance of vaccinating your pet against rabies,” says Mark Wade, Rabies vaccinations safeguard you, your family, your pet and our community against this deadly disease. That is why up-to-date vaccinations are required by both City and State law.
Including the two domestic cats, the Metro Health Lab has identified 19 cases of animal rabies in 2011 in surrounding counties with one case in Bexar County. The majority of the animals were skunks followed by foxes, raccoons, and bats.
Pet owners must take appropriate care of their pets and limit their pet’s contact with wildlife. People also need to be extremely careful not to handle wildlife. Children, in particular, should be reminded of the dangers of handling any animals they do not know, especially bats during this migration season.
Rabies is a potentially fatal viral disease that is spread by contact with infected saliva or neural tissue, primarily through a bite but in certain rare cases through non-bite exposures like abrasions or scratches. The virus infects the central nervous system eventually causing death in nearly all cases if not prevented with the rabies vaccine.
Remember, if your pet has a rabies exposure you and your family could be at risk through casual contact. All animal bites must be reported to Animal Care Services. The 24-hour Bite Emergency line is 207-6667.
For more information on rabies, visit www.dshs.state.tx.us.