September 28th is World Rabies Day
Our pets are very good at investigating life outdoors, and may even be exposed to wildlife in their own backyards. At Lake Road Animal Hospital, we have treated pets who have come into contact with raccoons, porcupines, woodchucks, coyotes, bats, and more. Don’t leave your pets unprotected for rabies!
Although the incidence of rabies in New York is low, any mammal can contract and spread the disease, so if your pet has any contact with wild animals, call your veterinarian immediately to make an appointment for a checkup and to booster the rabies vaccine if your veterinarian deems this in your pet’s best interest.
Rabies Vaccine Law
A current rabies vaccine is required by law for any cat, dog, or ferret over the age of 3 months and must be kept up to date at all times.
What to Expect if Your Pet Has Contact With a Wild Animal or Another Domestic Pet
Typically, a rabies vaccine booster is recommended, and any wounds should be cleaned and treated as soon as possible to prevent infection and further trauma.
If your pet is bit by a wild animal and is unvaccinated or not up to date on the rabies vaccine, strict isolation (from both human and animal contact) is generally required for a minimum of 6 months.
If your pet is bitten by another domestic pet, obtain the rabies vaccination status (if possible) of both pets to help your veterinarian assess the risk to your injured furry family member. If the pet who bit another person or animal is not up to date on their rabies vaccine, a 10-day quarantine away from other pets and people is generally required.
For each individual case, you should call the health department to report the incident and to obtain individual recommendations for your pet.
- Rabies is transmitted by the bite of an infected animal or by coming into contact with an infected animal’s saliva.
- Once the rabies virus enters the body, it travels to the nervous system and the brain. Depending on where a bite occurs, signs of rabies may develop quickly or over the course of many days or weeks.
- There is no treatment once rabies develops, so it is imperative to keep your pets up to date on their rabies vaccine at all times.
- Signs of rabies include uncoordinated movements, stumbling, behavior changes, drooling, lethargy, fever, or a lack of appetite. These signs can also be caused by other conditions that also affect the nervous system. If you have any concerns about your pet’s behavior, call your veterinarian to schedule an exam.
Raccoons are very active in the early spring since that is their typical mating season. They can be found in almost any habitat: from city streets to isolated forests. It is normal for raccoons to be active during either day or night. Many raccoons, just like other wildlife, do not have rabies, but it is always best to avoid contact with wild animals to be safe.
If you see a raccoon or other wild animal that appears sick or injured, do NOT approach it. Call 311 to report the animal, and keep your pets from chasing after the critter. If your pet is scratched or bitten by a raccoon or other wild animals or attacks one, please call your veterinarian immediately.
If you have any questions about your pet’s health or vaccination status, please call our office at 607-733-6503. We are always happy to help!