Rabies season is upon us again

by | May 26, 2008 12:00 am

by Rebecca M Clifton Environmental Health Specialist Emanuel County Health Department

Yes folks, rabies season is here once more. It occurs when the weather is nice and we get closer to nature. There are a few things to keep in mind during this special time of the year.

First of all, make sure all of your pets are up to date with their rabies vaccinations. For just a small fee you can have the peace of mind that your pet will be safe from any rabid animals roaming the countryside. Rabies clinics are offered at various times throughout the community and these are great opportunities to have your animal vaccinated in a more open environment. Please call your local veterinarian to schedule an appointment to have your animal vaccinated or to find out when and where the next rabies clinic will be.

Be aware that seeing wild animals such as raccoons, foxes, skunks, and coyotes during daytime hours is not normal. These are nocturnal animals that do most of their hunting and scavenging during nighttime hours and spend the day sleeping in seclusion. If you see them in the daytime, DO NOT go near them. They can seem tame or even friendly in some stages of rabies, but do not be fooled. Stray dogs and cats should also be avoided. If you do not know an animal, do not touch it. Bats can be natural carriers of the rabies virus without exhibiting any symptoms. Because bats have such small teeth and mouths it is very difficult to tell if you have been bitten or not, therefore, it is best not to handle them at all.

If you are bitten by a wild or stray animal or if you have contact with a bat, seek medical help right away and then contact your local Health Department. If the incident occurs during non-business hours, call Georgia Poison Control at 1-800- 292-5846. If the animal was killed, it is very important to keep it cold until it can be sent to a lab for testing. Rabies is nothing to take lightly. If prompt treatment is not obtained, it can be fatal. Be careful this summer and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Nature is beautiful, but sometimes it can be deadly.

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