Friday, August 21, 2015

Rabies... 6 Key Points

Rabies has been around for thousands of years.  It is found all throughout the world (I saw cases in India and Mexico and have had exposure in CT and the mid-atlantic).  Historically, to date, there are very few survivors of this awful disease, it is very rare and considered to have close to 100% mortality.  

Non-veterinary professionals and even a lot of veterinary professionals do not regularly get vaccines for this disease.  I got my vaccines in veterinary school and subsequently when I have had exposure to the virus.

Here are some key points to know about Rabies:

1) Please vaccinate your pet.  Whether they be "indoor" or "outdoor", rabies vaccine is the law and is necessary unless your veterinarian and you decide that your pet has a particular medical condition that makes it too risky.

2) Don't touch wildlife (squirrels, bats, etc.).  These animals can potentially expose you to rabies virus.  Call animal control or law enforcement.  They know what to do and they have protection.

3) The only way to test for rabies is post-mortem.  There is no blood test or any other test that can be performed at this time on a live animal/human that can let you know about exposure to rabies.  If your pet has contact with a potentially rabid animal and then begins showing symptoms, the only way we can get an answer is when a necropsy (similar to an autopsy) is performed.

4) Rabies vaccine is not fun.  The only place that typically carries rabies vaccine are emergency rooms and they typically cost about $500 a shot.  Also, they are painful (in the muscle) and can cause flu-like symptoms.

5) Often exposures happen in what people might perceive as "low-risk" situations.  Two of the exposures in my area this year have been in condos.  Not farmhouses in the country.  Suburban condos where a bat got into the house and was later tested as positive by animal control.  That means everyone in the house had to have rabies prophylaxis and the pets, if they weren't caught up on their vaccine, needed to go into a 6 month quarantine.

6) It's the law.  All states in the US have laws regarding rabies.  Rabies vaccine and travel regulations are regulated by the States and are very serious.  When in doubt, contact your veterinarian or animal control.

Any questions?

No comments:

Post a Comment