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Rabies and Quarantine
Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus. The rabies virus affects the central nervous system of warm-blooded animals and is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal. Typically, an animal contracts the virus through a bite, scratch, or breaking of the skin from contact with saliva of an infected animal. An infected animal will typically start to show signs of the rabies virus three to eight (3 - 8) weeks after being infected. For dogs and cats, once the animal starts to show signs of rabies, the animal will typically die within ten (10) days.
For more information on rabies, you can go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website.
Signs of Rabies
- Change in behavior
- Ex: A friendly dog or cat may become vicious and bite without any apparent reason OR a friendly dog or cat may become very shy and withdrawn.
- Ex: In wild animals, a normally shy, nocturnal skunk may be seen in broad daylight and appear unafraid of dogs or humans.
- Unexplained paralysis (inability to move)
- Ex: Rabies often causes paralysis of the rear legs or lower jaw. The animal may not be able walk or may appear "drunk".
- Not eating
- Pawing at the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Eating strange (non-food) objects
- Appearance of choking
- Chewing at the site of the bite
- Hypersensitivities to touch or sound
There are certain wildlife species that have a higher likelihood of transmitting the rabies virus. If you come across one of these animals, it is best to leave it alone and not touch it.
5 High Risk Animals
What to Do if Bitten or Scratched
The first thing you should do if you have been bitten, scratched, or have had your skin broken is:
- Wash immediately with soap & water
- Contact 911 or the Sheriff's Office to report incident
- Contact Animal Control
If you decide not to seek medical treatment for the bite, you can fill out an Animal Control Bite Statement online.
What Happens Once a Bite is Reported
Once a bite is reported, an investigation will be conducted. The purpose of the investigation is to determine if the animal has rabies and if the Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) may be necessary.
If the animal is a stray, cannot be found, or cannot be identified, Animal Control will recommend talking to a doctor about Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).
If the animal can be found and identified as the animal which caused the bite/scratch, it will be quarantined for the remainder of ten (10) days after the date of exposure. The location of quarantine will be based on each situation's circumstances and will be determined by an Animal Control Officer based on state laws.
For any questions on Post-Exposure Prophylaxis and/or rabies, please contact Sheila Folschinsky at 210-207-2095.