Home : View
Our Pets : Spay/Neuter Clinic : Wish
List : Volunteering : Lost/Found : Rabies Info : Surrender Your
Pet : *PETANGO*
vetrinarian for rabies vaccinations.
What is rabies?
Rabies is a deadly disease caused by
a virus that attacks the nervous system. The virus is usually
transmitted by a bite from a rabid animal. Prompt and appropriate
treatment after being bitten and before the disease develops can
stop the infection and prevent the disease in humans.
What animals get rabies?
Only mammals can get rabies; birds,
fish, reptiles and amphibians do not. Most cases of rabies occur in
wild animals - mainly skunks, raccoons, bats and foxes. In recent
years, cats have become the most common domestic animal infected
with rabies because many cats are not vaccinated and are exposed to
rabid wildlife while outside. Rabies also occurs in dogs and cattle
in significant numbers and has been diagnosed in horses, goats,
sheep, swine and ferrets.
vaccination programs and control of stray animals have been
effective in preventing rabies in most pets. Approved rabies
vaccines are available for cats, dogs, ferrets, horses, cattle and
sheep. Licensed oral vaccines have been used for mass immunization
of wildlife with the approval of the state agency responsible for
animal rabies control.
Rabies and Humans
Rabies vaccination and animal control
programs, along with better treatment for people who have been
bitten, have dramatically reduced the number of human cases of
rabies in the United States. Most of the relatively few, recent
human cases acquired in this country have resulted from exposures to
still a significant source of rabies in other countries. Travelers
should be aware of this risk when traveling outside of the United
What you can do to help control
veterinarian vaccinate your dogs, cats, ferrets, and selective
horses and livestock. Your veterinarian will advise you on the
recommended or required frequency of vaccination in your locality.
Reduce the possibility of exposure to rabies by not letting your
pets roam free. Don't leave exposed garbage or pet food outside as
it may attract wild or stray animals.
Wild animals should never
be kept as pets. Not only may this be illegal but wild animals pose
a potential rabies threat to caretakers and to others.
all wild animals from a distance - even if they appear to be
friendly. A rabid wild animal may appear tame but don't go near it.
Not all rabid animals foam at the mouth and appear mad.
see a wild animal acting strangely, report it to the city or county
animal control department.
What should you do if your pet has bitten
Urge the victim to see a
physician immediately and to follow the physician's recommendations.
Check with your veterinarian to determine whether your pet's
vaccinations are up-to-date.
Report the bite to the Madison
County Health Department, 649-3531 and Madison County Animal Control
authorities, 649-3190. If your pet is a cat, dog or ferret, the
officials will confine the animal and watch it closely for ten days.
Home confinement may be allowed.
Immediately report any illness
or unusual behavior by your pet to the health department and your
Don't let your pet stray and don't give your pet
away. The animal must be available for observation by public health
authorities or a veterinarian.
After the recommended observation
period, have your pet vaccinated for rabies if it does not have a
current rabies vaccination.
What you should
do if your pet has been bitten by a potentially rabid
Consult your veterinarian
immediately and report the bite to local animal control authorities.
Dogs, cats and ferrets that are currently vaccinated should be
re vaccinated immediately, kept under the owner's control, and
observed for a period as specified by state law or local ordinance
(normally 45 days or more). Animals with expired vaccinations will
need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
cats and ferrets exposed to a rabid animal may need to be
euthanatized immediately. Alternatively, the animal should be
checked, placed in strict isolation for six months, and vaccinated
one month before being released.
Animals other than dogs, cats,
and ferrets that are bitten by a rabid animal should be euthanatized
What you should
do if you have been bitten?
Don't panic, but don't
ignore the bite either. Wash the wound thoroughly and vigorously
with soap and lots of water. Call your physician immediately and
explain how you were bitten and follow the doctor's advice.
Capture the animal under a large box or other container (if that
can be done safely), or try to identify it before it runs away. Once
captured, don't try to pick the animal up. Call the local animal
control authorities to collect the animal.
If it is a wild
animal, only try to capture it if you can do so without getting
bitten again. If the animal cannot be contained and must be killed
to prevent its escape, do so without damaging the head. The brain
will be needed to test for rabies.
Report the bite to the
Madison County Health Department, 649-3531 and your family
It is extremely important
that you notify your family physician immediately after an animal
bites you. Your physician can find out whether the animal has been
captured. Capture and observation of the animal can affect treatment
decisions for your bite. If necessary, your physician will give you
the anti-rabies treatment recommended by the United States Public
Health Service and may also decide to treat you for other possible
infections that could result from the bite.