A puppy in Butler County has tested positive for rabies. The puppy was not previously vaccinated against rabies. Rabies is transmitted when an animal shedding the virus in its saliva bites another animal or person, or when the infective saliva comes into contact with mucus membranes or an open wound, i.e. by licking the wound. The Butler County Health Department and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment are working with the owner of the puppy to determine who may have come into contact with the puppy.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment wants to remind everyone who owns pets and livestock to make sure their animals are vaccinated against rabies by their veterinarian.
Vaccines are available for dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, cattle and sheep. Vaccinated animals need to have periodic boosters of vaccine to maintain proper protection.
The risk for human exposure to rabies is real, but preventable. Animal rabies is common in Kansas and skunks are the animals most likely to have the disease. However, skunks can pass the virus to other animals. Prevention of human rabies depends on maintaining an adequate buffer zone of vaccinated domestic animals, eliminating human exposures to stray and wild animals, and providing exposed persons with prompt post-exposure rabies treatment.
So far during 2013, Butler County has only had two confirmed cases of rabies, 1 skunk and 1 dog. The Kansas State Rabies Laboratory has reported 44 cases of animal rabies in Kansas. The rabid animals testing positive included 31 skunks, two bats, two dogs, two cats, four cows, and one of each of the following: llama, fox, and a donkey.
“Routinely vaccinating our pets not only protects them from contracting diseases but in the case of rabies protects our families and friends as well,” said Janice Powers, Director of the Butler County Health Department.
Butler County Health Department offer these tips to prevent rabies:
• Have your veterinarian vaccinate all dogs, cats, ferrets, horses and valuable breeding stock (cattle and sheep) against rabies.
• If bitten by an animal, seek medical attention and report the bite the health department or animal control department immediately.
• If your animal is bitten, contact your veterinarian for advice.
• If you wake up in a room with a bat present, regardless if there is evidence of a bite or scratch, seek medical attention. If at all possible trap the bat for testing. Do not release the bat.
• Do not handle or feed wild animals. Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
• Do not try to nurse sick wild animals to health. Call animal control or an animal rescue agency for assistance.
• Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
Page 2 of 2 - For more information about rabies, contact your veterinarian, the Butler County Health Department at 316-321-3400 or the Kansas Department of Health and Environment at 1-877-427-7317.