We’ve got all heard so many different things about rabies which it is tough to separate myth from facts. When dogs get their vaccinations, one of those shots in the show is a rabies vaccination. People that live in rural areas often worry about their pets being bitten by a wild animal because that animal might have rabies. We all recall the film Old Yeller don’t we?
First thing most people worry about when they’re bitten by an animal is when that animal has rabies. Most animal control sections will quarantine domestic pets before either the owner can display vaccination records or till tests can be completed showing that the animal doesn’t have rabies. If possible, wild animals will be captured and tested.
How many times have you heard people say, “oh, watch out for raccoons, or squirrels, or whatever type of animal, because they have rabies.” I discovered that all of the time growing up. Even now as an adult I still listen to it.
A few months ago I was in a place along the coast that is home to a lot of ground squirrels. There are signs all around the area advising people not to feed the squirrels. That is mainly for a couple of reasons. One reason is because people food isn’t good for the squirrels and it causes them to learn to beg for food from people as opposed to forage for food like nature intended. The other risk is that, while even adorable and cuddly, they’re still wild animals and can sting you.
While I was watching people ignore the “please do not feed” signs, I overheard one dad tell his child, “look out, all of them have rabies.” Not only do they not all have rabies, but odds are that none of these have rabies. But, and it is a big but (no pun intended), in case among the squirrels did have rabies that it might be quite dangerous.
Let’s start out with, what’s rabies? Rabies is a viral disease which may be taken by any mammal. It is normally transmitted via the bite of a rabid animal, in other words, a creature carrying the virus. The virus is usually spread through the saliva of an animal that bites and breaks the skin. The virus attacks the central nervous system of its host causing several diverse issues.
In animals, the virus can cause them to become combative and extremely aggressive. In animals and humans both, intense muscle pain and soreness sets in, particularly in the muscles associated with consuming. This can cause extreme thirst in both people and animals. Symptoms for animals will typically develop within 20 to 60 days after contracting the illness. Death generally occurs a couple of days after symptoms appear, usually from respiratory failure.
Humans can carry the virus for about 25 to 50 days before symptoms show. People will typically suffer from headaches, extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, and fevers. Once symptoms start showing, it only takes a week or so before serious nervous system damage places in. Once in that point, it’s likely a individual with rabies will perish. They normally expire either in respiratory failure or cardiac arrest. If properly handled, rabies is seldom fatal. Treatment needs to begin before the symptoms put in.
Even though there is no reason to spread fear and panic by believing all wild animals carry rabies, due caution needs to be used. Personally, I do not feed the squirrels since I do not want to make them dependent on individuals food and I do not need to get bit. I’m not very worried about contracting rabies from them. But due to the deadly character of rabies, you should seek immediate medical care if bit. Wash the wound with water and soap and head directly for your physician or local emergency area.
For wild animals, if at all possible have animal control captured by Raccoon Removal Melbourne FL so that they can be tested for rabies. For domestic animals, still have animal control get involved and confirm that the animal’s health. Typically, domestic animals account for about ten percent of rabies cases.
Rabies is a very serious illness and you need to vaccinate your pets against it and protect yourself by using caution when around unknown or wild animals. However, there’s absolutely no demand for all out fear and concern. Enjoy life and enjoy our furry friends too.