QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT RABIES
A: Rabies is a virus that infects the central nervous system in warm-blooded animals. The disease is invariably fatal if left untreated; however, effective vaccines are available to protect people and pets.
A: Rabies is passed along through contact with an infected animal’s saliva and is almost always transmitted when an infected animal bites an uninfected animal or person. People usually get rabies from the bite of a rabid animal. It is also possible, but quite rare, that people may get rabies if infectious material from a rabid animal, such as saliva, gets directly into their eyes, nose, mouth, or a wound.
A: Rabies is a serious public health concern because if left untreated it is always fatal. Costs associated with detection, prevention and control of rabies exceeds $300 million annually. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 90% of reported rabies cases in the United States are in wildlife.
A: The test to determine if an animal has contracted the rabies virus requires them to be euthanized to test the cells of the brainstem. Some of the visible signs of a rabid animal could include any of the following symptoms: aggressive behavior, attacking for no reason, lethargic, walking in a circle, confused, and drunk-like. Wildlife should never be approached at any time. If you have any questions about wildlife, please contact USDA’s Wildlife Services at 1-866-4-USDA-WS (1-866-487-3297).
A: Wash the wounds thoroughly with soap and water as a first aid precaution. Call your doctor or local health department immediately. If it is a domestic animal, get the name and address of the animal’s owner. If it is a wild animal, contact your local health department, animal control, or professional wildlife officer for assistance. If the animal is dead, wear gloves or use a shovel to move it. If testing is necessary, put the carcass into a heavy plastic bag and place it in a cold area away from people and other animals. Clean the area where the animal was found with one part bleach to ten parts water. Call your local health department for further instructions.
A: Avoid contact with all wild animals. Make sure your pets are vaccinated in accordance with state and local laws. Report any suspicious acting animals to USDA’s Wildlife Services at 1-866-4-USDA-WS (1-866-487-3297) or to your local police or animal control. Do not relocate wildlife.
If you have questions about rabies or to see if your pet is properly vaccinated, please call Long Island City Veterinary Center at 718-383-VETS today.