A calf in Sterns County (the Saint Cloud area) was diagnosed positive for rabies on October 10th, 2013 after showing signs of bellowing, being off feed and aggression. The good news in this situation was that no people involved in the case were recommended to receive post exposure prophylaxis and the dog on the premises was vaccinated for rabies already. A great example of how vaccinating your pets and taking precautions when working with animals showing unusual behavior such as aggression is very important for everyone’s safety.
Recently a horse in Nobles County in southwestern Minnesota was noticed to be lethargic, disoriented and circling. The animal’s health continued to decline and was euthanized on Oct. 1st and tested positive for rabies. Bats and skunks continue to be the common wildlife that carry and spread the rabies virus in Minnesota. To date, all domestic animals that have tested positive have been large animals. But this doesn’t mean our smaller furry friends are not at risk so please make sure your cats’ and dogs’ rabies vaccines are up to date since this is a disease we don’t get a second chance with. To see the full report on this case as provided by the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, please follow this link: MN BAH Rabies Alert. If you have any questions about your pet’s rabies vaccine status, please call us at 763-574-9892.
An eight-year-old Stevens County cat was aggressive towards people, panting and having difficulty walking for three days before its death. The animal had never been vaccinated for rabies and tested positive for the disease on April 18. The cat’s four two-week-old kittens have since died.
Again, please keep you pets vaccinated. Your pets are members of you family and by not vaccinating them, the whole family is at risk.
A steer from a herd of cattle in Nobles County tested positive for rabies at the end of February. One month prior to the steer becoming ill and aggressive, a skunk was seen on the property. The herd veterinarian treated the ill steer before its death two days later. The veterinarian has been recommended to be given post-exposure prophylaxis shots.
Again, this is just another grim reminder of the presence of this deadly disease in our wildlife and how it spreads to our animals. Please protect your pets and your family by keeping your pets’ rabies vaccine current.
On January 31, an owner of a feedlot noticed one of his cows appeared to be showing signs of labor two months before her expected calving date. The following day, the cow was walking strangely and eventually appeared paralyzed and unable to walk. The cow tested positive for rabies on February 2. This is the fourth positive rabies case in Minnesota this year. This case follows three rabid skunks that were found in Benton, Stearns, and Wright Counties in January.
Rabies is still, unfortunately, prelalent in our state, sticking around in our skunks and bats and wild animals. Please protect your pet from this deadly disease and keep your pet’s rabies vaccine current. If you have any questions or concerns about your pet or would like to check on your pet’s vaccine status, please call us at 763-574-9892.
On December 22, the latest positive rabies case was identified in Fillmore County in southeastern Minnesota. A stray kitten with an injured leg was found on a property in Fillmore County. One of the homeowners approached the kitten and upon picking it up, the kitten bit the individual on the finger. The family attempted to clean up the kitten’s leg and offer it food. The kitten did not eat anything offered, and the kitten’s mouth ‘looked funny’. The following day the kitten was brought to a local veterinary clinic where it was submitted for rabies testing. The major risk to the people in this situation is too important not to mention again. These people must now get the post-exposure prophylaxis shots because they have been exposed to the rabies virus. And we cannot stress enough how important it is for you to keep your pets’ rabies vaccine up-to-date. The dogs in this household had current vaccines so will have to be monitored for exposure but not euthanized immediately like they would if they had not been vaccinated. Remember rabies is a deadly disease that is present in Minnesota so please keep your pets’ vaccines current.
Another confirmed case of rabies was announced on December 1st. A stray cat in Olmstead County, in the southeastern portion of the state, was taken in by a family at the end of October. The cat was spayed and vaccinated, after which the cat started developing neurologic signs such as aggression, vocalization, wobbly in the rear end and scooting. The cat was euthanized and tested for rabies then. The unvaccinated cats in the home also euthanized while the vaccinated cats in the home have to be quarantined. The owner, three relatives and four veterinary staff members all need to be treated with post-exposure prophylaxis shots. This is just another serious and sad reminder of how important it is to keep our pets up-to-date on their vaccines, especially their rabies vaccine.
Canine Influenza Update
In a national survey of pet care facilities, over a quarter of all surveyed are now requiring that dogs be vaccinated for canine influenza virus (dog flu) before being allowed to board or stay at the facility. Even if a facility is not requiring the vaccine, please consider getting the canine influenza virus vaccine that we offer to help protect your dog wherever you go – boarding, grooming, dog parks, doggie daycare.
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.
While we have all heard of rabies and know it is a deadly disease, we may not be aware of how important this disease is to all of us. Every year rabies kills more than 55,000 people around the world, mainly children in Asia and Africa where vaccination of dogs is not a common practice, if done at all. Even here in the United States, there are 1-3 human fatalities from rabies every year and thousands of animal cases, including wildlife and domestic animals. Just this year in Minnesota alone we have had three cats, two dogs and one bull diagnosed with rabies. So here are some important facts about rabies everyone should know:
– To keep dogs legally current on rabies vaccination, your dog must be vaccinated every 1-3 -years depending on your city (it is every 2 years in Fridley). Cats must be vaccinated every year to be legally current on rabies vaccination if using the safer feline vaccines. Cats can go every three years if a less safe dog vaccine is used and it is allowed in your city.
– Vaccination of your pet for rabies is very important. If your pet does bite someone and is not current on rabies vaccination, your pet may have to be euthanized or will have to be quarantined for months until it is proven they are not infected and have not developed the disease.
– Most people think of rabies in domestic animals as the animal showing aggressive behavior. Aggression is the most common form in dogs and cats but in horses and cattle and other farm animals, they often become lethargic, lose their balance and seem to lose all care about their surroundings. This lethargic form can happen in dogs and cats also and was what happened with the most recent case of a rabid dog found in Sterns County this month.
– Skunks and bats are the most common wildlife with rabies in Minnesota. Raccoons can also have rabies but it is more common along the East Coast.
– Skunks often behave oddly when they have rabies, including coming close to people without fear.
– Bats show no signs of rabies, only carry the disease, so all bats must be considered infected.
– All bat bites or possible bat bites, such as a bat found in the room when you wake or a bat in a child’s room, must be considered exposure to rabies. See a medical professional immediately.
– Once signs of rabies occur, it is nearly always fatal in people so if there is any possibility of expose to rabies, see a medical professional to determine if there is need of therapy.
– Stay safe – keep your pets vaccinated and do not approach any strangely behaving wildlife or bats.
Please feel free to call and talk to one of our doctors about rabies and rabies vaccination at 763-574-9892.