Rabies is a viral infection of the central nervous system. It is almost always a fatal disease once contracted. The rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals. It is transmitted by bites, scratches or through mucous membrane contact with the saliva of an infected animal.
Our vaccinated domesticated animals serve as a buffer between humans and the wild animal population. State Law requires that dogs and cats over the age of three months be vaccinated.
Any animal exhibiting atypical or unusual behavior such as the following should be treated cautiously:
- Nocturnal animals normally active at night being seen in the daytime.
- A wild animal that shows no fear of humans.
- Wild animals acting unusual for the species.
- Domestic animals acting in an unusual manner.
These wild animals are very susceptible to rabies:
If you come in contact with any animal you believe to be rabid, you should do the following:
- Completely wash the exposed area with soap and running water.
- See your physician immediately.
- Call the Rabies Control Officer so the animal may be captured.
- Call the local health department at (334) 678-2815 or your veterinarian for information regarding the handling and treatment of any exposed pets. For testing of potentially rabid animals, contact the Houston County Health Department or your veterinarian.
Some important things to remember:
- Don't feed or attempt to pet wild animals.
- Don't let children play with strange dogs or cats.
- If your pet comes in contact with a suspected rabid animal, don't handle your pet. The rabies virus may be on your pet's fur and can expose you through cuts and mucous membrane contact.
- Beware... pet door openings into your home can also let in wild animals.