Page 10 - The Gateway - June/July 2019
P. 10

Rabies Awareness
Animal Control receives calls daily concerning loose stray animals and wildlife including bats. Raising awareness and educating the community on how to handle unfamiliar animals is vital for residents’ safety.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, 2018 had 42 positive cases of rabies in animals identi ed in 13 of the 28 counties in our region of Texas. Bats make up the largest group of positive cases with skunks ranking second, followed by raccoons.
What is rabies? Rabies is a deadly disease, caused by a virus, which affects the central nervous system. It is the most serious zoonotic disease that you might encounter. Rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms begin. The virus is spread when saliva containing the rabies virus is introduced into an opening in the skin, usually a bite or possibly by a scratch of a rabid animal. Some bites, such as from a bat, are very small and may be hard to detect.
Signs of rabies: Some signs of a rabid animal
include hyperactivity with bizarre or combative behavior, attacking objects, a hoarse howl and blank gaze, drooling, paralysis, or sudden death without associated symptoms.
Who can get rabies? Any mammal can get rabies, including humans, dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, pigs and horses. If a possible exposure occurred, do not wait, call Animal Control immediately.
How can you protect your animals and yourself from rabies? The best protection is prevention and avoidance of any potential risk.
n Vaccinate your dogs and cats for rabies. It is important to keep their vaccinations current.
n Do NOT let your pets roam; keep them restrained and indoors as much as possible.
n Stay away from injured, sick or dead animals; do not pick up or move injured or sick animals.
n Children are the most common victims of bites. Teach your child to NEVER, EVER touch a stray, wild animal or a bat.
n If a person is bitten or scratched by a pet or wild animal, clean the wound with soap and water. Seek medical attention.
n Try to safely capture the animal which caused the bite or scratch.
What to do if your pet encounters a bat, skunk, raccoon, or other high-risk rabies carrier:
n Handle your pet with care, use gloves! Remember, saliva with the rabies virus could be on your pet. Cover your pet with a towel and use gloves to handle your animal.
n Minimize risk to any other person; do not let anyone else handle the animal.
n Try to safely capture the animal which caused the bite or scratch.
Educate children to never tease, play with, or go near wild animals or strange dogs and cats. An excellent rule of thumb for children when it comes to pets is “Love your own, leave other animals alone”.
For all possible rabies exposures, bites or scratches, it is very important to call Animal Control immediately at 210.658.0700.
June/July 2019

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