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Fast Action Protects Pet from Rabid Run-In

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Vaccinations can prevent rabies, but boosters are still needed
RALEIGH — Even a vaccinated pet can pose a rabiesthreat, but only in certain situations. The biggest concern is what to do in the minutes after your pet gets intoa fight with a rabid animal.

We know that vaccinating our pets is the best way to protect them fromrabies. We get them vaccinated hoping they'll never come in contact withthe deadly disease. But what if the worst happens? What if your pettangles with a potentially rabid animal?

Dicke Sloop, an animal control manager, strongly urges people notto touch an animal while trying to investigate the situation. It'simportant to prevent infected saliva from coming into contact with yourskin.

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 shotwithin 72 hours after contact with a potentially rabid animal.

If your animal has already had a shot for rabies it is somewhatprotected according to veterinarian Abbey Sutton. But she says you stillmust go in for a booster for extra protection.

Dr. Sutton says that most any vet can connect you with a house callveterinarian who can come out and deliver the shot if necessary.

You're more likely to protect your pet from contact with a rabidanimal if you keep it confined or on a leash. Otherwise, you put yourselfand others at risk.

Protecting your pet isn't hard, and it's not expensive. Puppies andkittens can get their first rabies vaccinations at four months. That willbe 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. Thecost varies, but most vets will charge you less than $20.00 for each roundof shots.

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