THAT Time of Year…Again…

Well, it’s Spring again (except at MY house, which is still buried under SNOW!!!) and, as usual, the critters are coming out of what every type of hibernation they’ve been in.  So it’s time, again, to remind you all that Spring is a prime time for the Rabies virus to surface.  I’ve already heard calls on my police scanner for sick looking raccoons and skunks walking around, so I want to again remind all of what’s what with Rabies.

Rabies is a deadly virus that affects the nervous system of an infected animal.  The animal will either stumble around as if drunk or injured, or it will go into a rage, attacking anything and everything – even itself.  There are times, too, when the animal can bounce between the two types of symptoms.

Animals can appear to have been struck by a car as they will stumble around, often dragging their back legs.  Please do NOT attempt to “help” these animals by putting them in your car (yep – it’s happened, which is why I have to say DON’T DO THAT!) and attempting to bring them for help.  Instead, call the local police department to report the animal.  An animal control officer will be dispatched to check on the situation.  And do NOT TOUCH the animal – either to move it or to help it.  The animal can come out of the stupor and attack.

Remember that Rabies is spread by contact with bodily fluids and that you can have something as small as a paper cut or a hangnail and that virus can get into your system.  The virus travels up the spinal cord of the animal and into the base of the brain where the virus takes over and eventually kills the animal.

Remember, too, that having your animals properly vaccinated against the Rabies virus is the ONLY means of protection you’ll have if your dog or cat comes into contact with a rabid animal.  And if your animals are allowed to roam freely (cats are a biggie here) you do not know what it’s come into contact with, making that Rabies vaccination even more critical.

So if you see an animal that is acting strangely or in a manner that makes you suspicious, please call the police department.  Don’t try and help it.  Don’t try and do anything other than alert someone who can take care of it.  And make SURE your pets are vaccinated!

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