Monday, September 28, 2013 is World Rabies Day. Rabies is a serious disease that affects the nervous system and can be fatal if left untreated. By keeping your pets vaccinated against rabies, you are not only protecting them, but you are protecting yourself and your family too. Show your pets how much you love them by honoring September 28th and getting them vaccinated. The Foothills Animal Shelter offers rabies vaccinations for your dog or cat for only $15. Vaccines can be given during an appointment, or the shelter offers walk-in hours on Tuesdays and Fridays from 3 to 4pm. Please visit their website or call 303-278-7575 for more information.
The JCPH animal-borne disease program works to monitor and respond to disease threats in the county, as well as monitor any positive rabies tests from animals such as bats. It is important for everyone to take precautions against rabies exposure. While only a small percentage of bats are infected with rabies, it is important to avoid close contact with them. The public should contact their local animal control if they find a dead bat or if they find a bat behaving strangely. Animal control will determine whether the bat needs to be collected and tested. Animal Control will collect specimens for rabies testing if there is a possibility that the bat had contact with people or their pets--particularly within the home or other enclosed buildings.
Jefferson County Health officials advise that even what may seem as insignificant contact with a bat may still be sufficient to transmit the rabies virus. Rabies is spread most often through contact with bat saliva, as a result of bites or from exposure to cuts on the skin. In some instances, people may be unaware that they were bitten and may not see puncture wounds.
Steps to Prevent Rabies:
- Residents are urged not to handle wild animals and to beware of any bats or skunks seen during day light hours. Bats that are active during the day (seen in places where bats are not usually seen, i.e. indoors, on the lawn) or any bat that is unable to fly should be considered possibly rabid and reported to the appropriate animal control agency.
- Pet owners should be sure their pets have current immunizations for rabies and keep their pets from roaming free. Vaccination is essential to protecting pets and preventing further spread of the disease.
- Wash any wound from an animal thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.
- Have all dead, sick, or captured bats/skunks tested for rabies if exposure to people or pets is suspected.
- Keep wild animals from entering homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas where they might contact people and pets. Seal up holes that might allow bats into your living quarters. Any openings larger than a quarter-inch by a half-inch should be caulked. Use window screens, chimney caps, and draft-guards beneath doors to attics, fill electrical and plumbing holes with stainless steel wool or caulking, and ensure that all doors to the outside close tightly.
· For more information or to report a suspicious animal, please contact your local Animal Control agency or Jefferson County Animal Control at 303-271-5070
· For more information on rabies and prevention tips please visit our Animal-Borne Disease Rabies page, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Rabies page, or call the JCPH Animal-Borne Disease Program at at 303-271-5700.