The City of White Deer will be holding a rabies clinic this Saturday, June 27, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the White Deer Fire Department.
Residents can bring their pets to get rabies shots for $12 per animal; Parvo/Distemper shots for $18 per animal or all three shots for $30 per animal.
In addition to receiving shots, pet owners can also purchase their required City Tag. The cost of the City Tag is $1 for a spayed or neutered pet and $3 if the animal is not spayed or neutered. The City Tag is a requirement for all pet owners and helps locate owners when a pet has been lost or escapes from its home.
Rabies is a viral illness spread via the saliva of an infected animal. This occurs usually through biting a human or another animal. The virus infects the brain and ultimately leads to death. After being bitten by a rabid animal, the virus is deposited in the muscle and subcutaneous tissue. For most of the incubation period (which is usually one to three months), the virus stays close to the exposure site. The virus then travels via peripheral nerves to the brain and from there, again via peripheral nerves, to nearly all parts of the body. Any mammal can spread rabies. In the United States, rabies is most often transmitted via the saliva of bats, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and skunks. The virus has also been found in cows, cats, ferrets, and horses. Symptoms can occur as fast as within the first week of the infection. The early symptoms of rabies are very generalized and include weakness, fever, and headaches. Without a history of a potential exposure to a rabid animal, these symptoms would not raise the suspicion of rabies as they are very similar to the common flu or other viral syndromes. The disease can then take two forms: 1. With paralytic rabies (approximately 20% of cases), the patient's muscles slowly get paralyzed (usually starting at the site of the bite), is the less common form and ends in coma and death. 2. With furious rabies (about 80% of cases), the patient exhibits the classic symptoms of rabies, such as anxiety and confusion (The patient is often overly active.); encephalitis, causing hallucinations, confusion, and coma; hyper-salivation; hydrophobia (fear and avoidance of water); difficulty swallowing. Once the clinical signs of rabies occur, the disease is nearly always fatal.
In the “furious” form, wild animals may appear to be agitated, bite or snap at imaginary and real objects, and drool excessively. In the “dumb” form, wild animals may appear tame and seem to have no fear of humans. There are other signs, such as the animal appearing excessively drunk or wobbly, circling, seeming partially paralyzed, acting disorientated, or mutilating itself. However, most of these signs can also be indicative of other diseases like distemper or lead poisoning. There are few behavioral signs that are telltale of rabies alone. If a typically nocturnal animal, such as a raccoon or skunk, is active during the day and exhibiting abnormal behavior, you should seek advice from your local animal control, humane society, wildlife rehabilitator or state wildlife agency.
Any warm-blooded mammal can carry or contract rabies, but the primary carriers in North America are raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes, and coyotes. Thanks to an increase in pet vaccinations, wildlife now account for more than 90 percent of all reported rabies cases.
Rabies tends to be more common in different species in different places but is certainly not limited to these trends: Raccoons suffer the most from this disease in the eastern United States. Skunks are the dominant rabies victims in the north- and south-central states, although skunk rabies also occurs in the East. Bats suffering from rabies are not limited to any particular area but scattered widely. Foxes in western Alaska, parts of Arizona and Texas and the eastern U.S. are victims more frequently than foxes in other areas. Coyotes with rabies have been found in southern Texas in the past but rarely in recent years. Rodents (squirrels, chipmunks, rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs), rabbits and hares rarely get rabies and have not been known to cause rabies among humans in the U.S. Squirrels may suffer from the fatal roundworm brain parasite which causes signs that look exactly like rabies.
Opossums are amazingly resistant to rabies. Hissing, drooling and swaying are part of the opossum’s bluff routine. It is intended to scare away potential predators, yet it looks just like rabies and is the reason people can be convinced they’re seeing “rabid opossums” when they’re not.
Despite the long odds of contracting rabies, the remote possibility of infection exists and should not be taken lightly:
● Don’t approach or handle wild animals.
● Vaccinate your pets—cats and dogs both—and any free-roaming cats under your care.
● If you see a wild animal that may be sick, contact your local animal control, veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitator for help. Don’t handle sick wildlife!
● If anyone is bitten by any wild animal, get medical advice from a doctor or health department immediately.
● If your pet is bitten by any wild animal, get medical advice from your veterinarian immediately.
● Scrub any bite wound immediately and aggressively with soap and water, use antiseptic soap such as betadine or Nolvasan®, if available. Flush the wound thoroughly with water.
● If anyone is bitten by a potentially rabid animal, scrub and flush the wound then go to your doctor or an emergency room.
● If possible, the animal should be captured and tested for rabies. Unless you can do it without risking further bites, leave this task to animal control professionals.
● If you find a bat in a room where someone was sleeping or where children might have had contact with him, the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you assume the bat has bitten the sleeper or children and take the step for a known bite. CDC suspects that adults may overlook and children may underreport the bites of tiny bat teeth.
● Timely treatment after a bite or other exposure is 100 percent effective. The very few people who die from rabies are those who don’t get timely treatment.
There have been a few skunks seen on the south part of town during the daylight hours, so please be aware when outside. Keeping grass and weeds cut down will help and deter wild animals from hiding in your yard.