All You Need to Know About Rabies◀ Back To Blog
July 23, 2014
Rabies is most often seen among wild animals such as raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes, but any mammal can be infected with rabies according to the New York State Department of Health. Pets and livestock can get rabies if they are not vaccinated to protect them against infection. Among domestic animals, cats are most frequently diagnosed with rabies in New York State. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation answers many commonly asked questions, we wanted to share with you.
What is rabies, and how is it spread?
Rabies is a deadly virus that infects the central nervous system of mammals, including humans. It's most common in bats, raccoons, foxes, and skunks. Although rabies is primarily transmitted by a bite, there is some risk of infection if saliva or nerve tissue from a rabid animal gets into someone's eyes, nose, or mouth, or into an open wound. Rabies can only be positively diagnosed by testing tissue from the suspected animal, but it's usually characterized by changes in behavior.
How a rabid animal MAY behave:
Unusual aggressiveness or tameness.
Excessive drooling, "foaming at the mouth."
Dragging the hind legs, mobility problems.
When to call the Health Department:
Wildlife had contact with a person or pet.
Human contact with pet after pet/wildlife fight.
Bat found in the living space of your home.
If I see a nocturnal animal out during the day, does that mean it has rabies?
Nocturnal animals DO come out during the day. However, this alone, is not a sign of illness. Pet food, bird seed, and garbage can be powerful attractants. Weather changes also affect wildlife.
What should I do if I see an animal that appears to be rabid?
Stay away from any animal that's acting strangely, and let your neighbors know about its presence in the area. We do not recommend approaching the animal contact your local DEC, health department.
If an animal does have rabies, how long will it take to die?
The infected animal usually dies within seven days of becoming sick. This seems like a long time to be on guard, but you also have to consider that the infected animal may have bitten other animals in the area.
How long will the rabies virus remain alive in the body of a dead animal?
The length of time that rabies remains alive in a dead animal depends primarily on the outside temperature. The virus could die within a few hours in warm weather and could stay alive for months in freezing temperatures.
Could my dog or cat get rabies from a dead animal that had rabies?
Yes, through an open wound or by chewing on the carcass. For the best protection for both your pet and your family is for you to keep your pet current with its rabies shots, consult with your veterinarian.
How do I safely dispose of a dead animal?
Use care when disposing of any dead animal. Wear gloves. Pick up the animal with a shovel. Then bury it (deep) or double-bag it and put it in the garbage. To kill the virus, sprinkle the ground and wash the shovel/gloves with a 10% solution of bleach in water (9 parts water, 1 part bleach).
As of May 2014, the Report of N.Y. State Dept. of Health Rabies Laboratory reports approximately 20 animals have tested positive for rabies in the Albany NY area. As bats begin to move around and wildlife animals roam our properties, beware of their activity. It is important to contact your local Clifton Park wildlife removal specialist at the first signs of bats or wildlife animals in and your home. Attempting to control and remove wildlife and other mammals you’re your home is dangerous and should be left up to a wildlife and bat removal specialists. Thomas Pest Services offers wildlife removal services to Chatham, East Greenbush, Saratoga and surrounding areas throughout the Capital Region. Contact us for a free inspection to safely remove bats and other wildlife from your structure.