Fast Action Protects Pet from Rabid Run-In
Posted June 27, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — Even a vaccinated pet can pose a rabies threat, but only in certain situations. The biggest concern is what to do in the minutes after your pet gets into a fight with a rabid animal.
We know that vaccinating our pets is the best way to protect them from rabies. We get them vaccinated hoping they'll never come in contact with the deadly disease. But what if the worst happens? What if your pet tangles with a potentially rabid animal?
Dicke Sloop, an animal control manager, strongly urges people not to touch an animal while trying to investigate the situation. It's important to prevent infected saliva from coming into contact with your skin.
If you must touch the animal, use rubber or plastic gloves. Then, take your pet to the vet. North Carolina law requires a rabies booster shot within 72 hours after contact with a potentially rabid animal.
If your animal has already had a shot for rabies it is somewhat protected according to veterinarian Abbey Sutton. But she says you still must go in for a booster for extra protection.
Dr. Sutton says that most any vet can connect you with a house call veterinarian who can come out and deliver the shot if necessary.
You're more likely to protect your pet from contact with a rabid animal if you keep it confined or on a leash. Otherwise, you put yourself and others at risk.
Protecting your pet isn't hard, and it's not expensive. Puppies and kittens can get their first rabies vaccinations at four months. That will be good until they're a year old, at which time they should get a booster. From then on, dogs and cats need a new rabies shot every three years. The cost varies, but most vets will charge you less than $20.00 for each round of shots.