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Rabies: Know The Signs

There was a movie released in 1981 based on a book written by Stephen King. The main character in the movie was a dog named Cujo that was bitten on the nose by a rabid bat. A mother and her child attempts to survive being trapped inside a car during a heatwave by the now rabid dog, Cujo. The movie portrays the rabid dog being hostile toward everyone that it comes in contact with but the end results show the rabid dog is put down.

Recently, there was a news release in May of 2019 concerning a man being bitten by a rabid skunk while visiting Shenandoah National Park in Madison County, Virginia. The skunk was removed from the park and the victim medically treated.

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. The virus is mainly in the saliva and brain of a rabid animal. Rabies is mostly contracted by a bite of a rabid animal; however, it can be contracted by scratches, abrasions, or open wounds exposed to saliva or other infectious material from a rabid animal.

It’s preventable in animals through vaccines; however, it can be fatal in humans and animals if left untreated. Exposed individuals should seek medical attention to evaluate whether prevention medication is needed. If a person fails to receive medical attention then the virus can spread to the brain resulting in death. Individuals need to contact their pet’s vet if the animal was exposed or possibly exposed to a potentially rabid animal.

How to tell an animal has rabies:

  • Some animals will act strangely by acting mad.

  • Animals that are hostile and try to bite you or other animals.

  • “Foaming” at the mouth. Rabies make animals produce more saliva which makes animals drool. This gives the “foaming” effect.

  • Some animals may act timid or shy. A wild animal may move slowly or act tame. This is not the way normal wildlife animals’ act. Something can be wrong.

How you can help control rabies:

  • Vaccinate your pets and keep them up to date.

  • Don’t let pets roam free. Keep them on your property as much as possible.

  • Report to the local health or animal control authorities if your pet is attacked or bitten by a wild animal.

  • Refrain from attracting wild or stray animals by not leaving garbage or pet food outside.

  • Refrain from keeping wild animals as pets.

If you have been bitten or come in contact with an animal with possible rabies, don’t ignore it. Wash the bite wound with soap and water which can greatly lesson the chance of infection. Call an animal control or law enforcement officer to explain the situation and have them come pick up the animal. You will need to contact your family doctor immediately and explain to them about the bite so that you can receive medical attention.

Rabies is not a virus to ignore especially if you or your pet has come in contact with it. By knowing the signs to look for and helping control the rabies virus from spreading will greatly benefit everyone.

If you have evidence of a wildlife pest living on your property or residing in your home, give Elite Wildlife Removal a call at 804-867-7184. Our friendly and trained staff will be gladly to help you with any of your wildlife needs.

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