Rabies can be a life-threatening condition if not treated quickly after contact with a rabid animal. It is important to be informed on how rabies is spread, and what you and your family can do to reduce the risk of infection.
How Rabies is Spread
Mammals such as dogs, cats, bats, raccoons, and humans can carry and contract rabies. The virus is carried in the saliva and the nervous system. It is usually transferred via bites. If infected saliva comes in contact with an open wound, eyes, nose, or mouth, there is a risk of infection. Bats and raccoons are often considered to have the highest rates of rabies among wild animals.
Leave Wild Animals Alone
Wild animals should be left alone. It is usually best to give any wild animals a wide berth, to avoid contact. If you see a baby animal, odds are that a parent is nearby. If the baby is still abandoned after several hours, contact a wildlife rehabilitation center. Talk to your children about leaving wild animals alone, and teach them to respect any animal they see by leaving it alone.
Stray dogs and feral cats are often harbingers of all sorts of diseases, and rabies is just one of them. Unfamiliar and unattended dogs and cats should be left alone, especially if it looks dirty or sickly. Children have a tendency to try to pick up or play with strays. They should be taught to avoid strays, even if they seem friendly.
New York/New Jersey Wildlife Removal, Inc. does not provide services in dealing with the removal of stray/feral dogs and cats.
Your pets should not be allowed to roam freely, nor should they be left outdoors unattended. Pets that are unsupervised run the risk of coming into contact with animals that might have rabies or other diseases. Keep them up to date on all of their shots.
Contact With a Wild Animal
Not all rabid animals appear sickly. The best way to protect yourself is to avoid wild animals whenever possible. If you are bitten by a wild animal, wash the wound with mild soap and warm water, and then seek medical attention. The wild animal should be humanely trapped by a licenced professional.