Rabies is a fatal disease that affects the nervous system. Humans and animals can become infected with rabies when they are bitten or scratched, or an open wound is exposed to the saliva of a rabid animal. Skunks, raccoons, bats, coyotes, and foxes are high-risk animals that carry rabies. Please report any contact between you or your pet and a wild animal. High risk animals that have made physical contact with you or your pet should be tested for rabies.
Possible signs of a rabid animal include:
- Wild animals that seem to be friendly or tame.
- Wildlife such as coyotes, foxes, skunks, raccoons, and bats that are seen out during the day.
- Animals that have a hard time walking, eating, or drinking.
- Changes in the way an animal acts. For example, a normally shy dog may become extremely active and/or aggressive. A friendly dog may suddenly want to be left alone.
If you see an animal that you think might have rabies, do not approach it, and contact Animal Services immediately at 903-654-4929. After hours, please call 903-654-4902.
Pet Care Tips to Avoid Rabies Contraction
To prevent your pet from contracting rabies, ensure they are vaccinated. By law, all pets must be vaccinated for rabies each year, or every three years depending on the type of vaccine used. Keeping your pets current on all vaccinations protects you and them.
- Do not allow pets to roam free. They could possibly come into contact with wildlife or other animals that may be infected.
- Avoid contact with wild animals and dogs or cats that you do not know.
- Never approach a stray dog or cat.
- Do not try to feed wild animals. Animals that will allow you to get that close, may be exhibiting signs of rabies.
- Never keep a wild animal as a pet.
- Never try to touch or approach a sick or injured animal. Report it to Animal Services immediately.
- Animals in distress are more likely to bite.
- Teach children the dangers of petting stray animals or wildlife. Advise them to tell an adult when they see one.
Wash and rinse the bite well. Consult a doctor to determine your next course of medical action. Remember what the animal looked like, describe the animal that bit you – breed, size, and color – to your doctor and report the bite to Animal Services. Advise children to get help from an adult, teacher, police officer, or Animal Services officer if they are ever bitten by an animal.
Animal Control will attempt to contact the owner of the animal. A report must be made for every bite that occurs. Verification of current rabies vaccinations must be provided for the biting animal.
Due to the fact that rabies vaccinations are not 100% effective, all dogs and cats that bite someone must be observed for a 10 day quarantine to detect any signs of rabies or the biting dog or cat must be tested for rabies.
You may quarantine an animal with the Animal Shelter for a $20 per day fee plus a $50 processing fee. You must sign a quarantine agreement prior to the animal being impounded.
You may quarantine with a veterinarian with certified quarantine facilities at your own expense if approved by Animal Services.