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July is Rabies Awareness Month
What is Rabies? 
Rabies is an acute encephalitis (infection of the brain) caused by a virus. Transmission can be by a bite, scratch, open wound or mucous membrane to saliva. The virus attacks the Central Nervous System Tissues and travels along to the nerves of the brain. 
Once in the brain, the effects are seldom reversible and usually fatal. Incubation time varies from 20-90 days after exposure. This depends on the severity of the bite, location and age of the victim. Incubation may be shorter to bites above the waist, head, neck, and even fingertips. Typically children have a faster onset of symptoms. 

There are two manifestations of the virus. The “dumb” form and the “furious” form. The “dumb” form refers to a paralytic form (or wild animals behaving friendly) while the “furious” form is when an animal is more likely to act wild and bite. Javelina, Raccoons, Fox, Coyotes, Bats and Skunks can all be hosts for this virus. 

There is also “Urban Rabies” which is spread through un-vaccinated domestic dogs and cats and “Rural Rabies” which is spread through the wild animals noted above. 

Prevention consists of immunization for the virus by your Veterinarian. Wild life ownership is discouraged since many exotic animals can be infected with rabies. Rabies is a serious disease. Over 55,000 people will die this year from rabies and most of those people are under the age of 15. 


Keep your kids safe! Educate them. In Arizona it is not uncommon to see Bats. Tell your kids that “Yes! Bats can give your Rabies!” If your kids see a bat, tell them to leave it alone. 

Most bats do not have rabies but you cannot tell just by looking at it. If you wake up to a bat in your home tell your kids not to chase it but to get an adult. Bats only come out when the sun is down. Therefore, if you see a bat when the sun is out, or one that can’t move, there is probably something wrong with it. Unfortunately you can’t tell if an animal has rabies by just looking at it. A clue though is if the animal is acting strangely. Some animals may act mad when they have rabies. They may try to bite you or other animals. 

In movies, animals with rabies look like they are foaming at the mouth. What´s really happening is that the rabies makes them have more saliva and that makes them drool. Other animals may act timid or shy when they have rabies. This is the most common kind. A wild animal might move slowly or act tame. You might be able to easily get close to it. Since that´s not the way wild animals usually act, you should remember that something could be wrong. 
The best thing to do is to never feed or get close to a wild animal. Be careful of other people’s pets that you don’t know. If you see a stray dog or cat, don´t pet it or call it to you. And if any animal is acting strangely, get an adult and have them call your local animal control officer for help. 

If your child or you do get bit, wash the wound well with soap and water and head straight to your family doctor! If the adult can catch the bat, take it with you to the doctor so that the doctor can have it tested for rabies. 
If he doesn’t, then no worries! 

If it tests positive for rabies, the person bit will receive a series of shots to make sure that the person bit does not get rabies too! Don’t worry; they are only as painful as the typical flu shot. The only way doctors can know for sure if an animal or a person has rabies is to do a laboratory tests. 

So, if your pet requires a Rabies Vaccine and you’ve been putting it off, please, do so no longer! Make your appointment with your Veterinarian Today!
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