Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system. It is transmitted by a bite or saliva from a rabid animal. In the United States, more than 6,000 rabid animals, as well as 6 human cases of rabies, were reported in 2011. According to Dr. Emilio DeBess, State Public Health Veterinarian for the Oregon Health Authority, 14 bats and two foxes have tested positive for the disease in Oregon so far this year.

Lane County: 

On October 12, the Oregon State University, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory reported that a bat found in Blue Mountain County Park in Lane County was positive for rabies. The unvaccinated dog who had contact with the bat will have to be quarantined for 6 months or euthanized. There was no human contact.

And earlier this year, a bat brought into a Eugene home by a family's cat tested positive for rabies, according to the Lane County Health Department. Only one of the family's two cats had been vaccinated. The unvaccinated cat will have to be quarantined for 6 months or euthanized. The vaccinated cat will have to be re-vaccinated and confined for 45 days. Please vaccinate your cats, who are most likely to play with bats!

To read more about the confirmed cases in Oregon visit: http://oregonvma.org/care-health/rabies

Oregon State and County Law Requires Rabies Vaccination for Pets

Dogs, cats and ferrets should be vaccinated against rabies. Vaccinating pets not only protects them but it provides a “buffer zone” between humans and rabid wild animals. Oregon law requires all dogs to be vaccinated against rabies as early as three months of age. In addition, Multnomah County requires all cats to be vaccinated for rabies.

Oregon law requires that unvaccinated pets that may have been in contact with rabid animals to be vaccinated and quarantined for six months or euthanized. The contact animal, such as a bat, is considered rabid unless it is tested and is negative.

Vaccinated dogs, cats, and ferrets exposed to a rabid animal should be revaccinated immediately, kept under the owner's control, and observed for 45 days. Any illness in an isolated or confined animal should be reported immediately to the local health department. If signs suggestive of rabies develop, the animal should be euthanized and tested.

Tips to Keep Your Family Safe

Vaccinate your pets.
Watch wildlife from a distance. Don’t approach or attempt to handle wild animals.
Do not feed wild animals.
Keep garbage in secure containers and away from wildlife.
Feed pets indoors.
Seal openings in attics, basements, porches, sheds, barns and screen chimneys that might provide access to bats and other wildlife.

If You Are Bitten

If you are bitten by any animal—even a household pet—and especially if the bite is from a wild animal, such as a bat, it is important to clean the wound and then consult with your health care provider immediately.

If you are scratched or bitten by a bat, immediately clean the wound. If the bat has been captured, do not crush the bat or throw it away, as intact bats can be tested for rabies, which can help you avoid post exposure rabies shots (PEP).

According to the law, dogs, cats or ferrets that bite humans should be quarantined for 10 days. If any other animal bites a human, euthanasia and rabies testing of the animal is recommended.

Rabies: 14 Bats & 2 Foxes Positive This Year in Oregon. (2009). Retreived November 7th, 2012, from http://oregonvma.org/care-health/rabies

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