Thursday, October 1, 2009

World Rabies Day

With World Rabies Day being observed earlier this week (Monday September 28th), I thought this would be a good reminder of the importance of vaccinating pets for rabies. September is also the month that the state, county and local health departments in Ashtabula County put out oral rabies vaccine bait aimed at providing the raccoon population with some immunity toward this deadly disease that affects wildlife, pets and people. Here are some interesting facts about rabies:

  • 55,000 people worldwide die from rabies every year

  • widespread rabies vaccination in the United States has reduced the human deaths in this country to just a few every year.

  • Even so, thousands of wild animals test positive for rabies in the US every year and rabies cases in dogs and cats number in the hundreds. (6,841 wild and domestic animals tested positive in 2008)

  • Cats are the number one domestic animal testing positive for rabies. (294 cases of rabies in cats reported in 2008)

  • Rabies is always fatal once symptoms appear.

  • In 2008, a 55 year old man from Missouri died of rabies. He had been bitten on the ear by a bat 30 days before the symptoms began and did not seek treatment until after the symptoms started.

  • In Ohio in 2008, there were 64 reported rabies cases. 5 raccoons, 55 bats, 3 skunks and 1 coyote.

  • In Pennsylvania in 2008, there were 431 reported rabies cases. 60 in domestic animals including 53 cats, 3 cattle, 3 dogs, 1 sheep or goat. 371 in wild animals including 228 raccoons, 43 bats, 71 skunks, 25 fox, 2 bobcats, 2 groundhogs.

Rabies in nearly 100% preventable. Vaccinate your pets (dogs, cats, ferrets and horses) against rabies. If you or anyone in your family is bitten or scratched by a wild animal or unknown pet, contact your doctor. If your pet is bitten or scratched by a wild animal or stray animal, call your veterinarian.

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