The first rabies positive dog of the year in Minnesotay was found on Tuesday October 18th in Lincoln County in the southwestern part of the state. The dog was not vaccinated for rabies. Approximately three weeks ago the dog was seen with a wound on its neck and subsequently started developing incoordination and exaggerated movements which progressed to paralysis of the back legs. Since the family had all been exposed to the dog while the dog was shedding virus, all members must get the series of shots to help protect them from developing rabies too. The other unvaccinated dog in that family will also have to be euthanized to test for rabies. Here in Minnesota the rabies virus is always present in the wildlife, primarily skunks and of course bats. Keeping your dog’s rabies vaccine current is not just a way to protect your pet from this deadly virus but also to protect your family. Rabies is nearly always fatal once contracted. The virus is spread through saliva mainly from bite wounds of a rabid animal but you can also get it if you get the drool from an infected animal in any cut or wound you already have in your skin. Here are a few important rules to follow to help keep you and your family (four-legged members and all) protected from rabies:
• Keep your dog, cat and horse’s rabies vaccine up-to-date.
• Stay away from all skunks, especially ones acting oddly or coming close to your house. Call the animal control to deal with them.
• Please call us immediately if you suspect your pet may have had any contact with a skunk or bat. Remember, bats carry and spread the virus but do not show any signs of illness so just being in contact with a bat is considered possible exposure to rabies.