On a clear winter day, Jane was playing fetch with her dog, Dodger, in her backyard. Suddenly, Dodger started dashing to the other side of the yard. “Oh, no!” Jane panicked when she saw Dodger and a skunk fighting. Soon Dodger ran back to her with a dead skunk in his mouth wagging his tail as if nothing had happened. Strong skunk odor filled the backyard and Dodger got multiple baths that day.
Jane contacted county’s animal control officer and reported the incident. Promptly, the officer picked up the dead skunk to be tested for rabies. In a couple days, she was informed that the skunk was positive for rabies! Who would have thought! It was a big relief that Dodger’s rabies vaccine was current. Her veterinarian recommended another rabies booster due to the recent exposure and Dodger was brought to the vet clinic for the vaccine.
According to Michigan Department of Natural Resources, two confirmed cases of rabies in skunks were found in Oakland and Washtenaw county this year already—yes, it is only Feburary. Last year, 65 cases of rabies were found in Michigan. Among them, 5 skunks were found in Oakland and Washtenaw county. Moreover, one rabies positive dog was found in Oakland county last year.
Rabies is not a disease of the past. It is right in our backyard. Make sure to vaccinate your pets against rabies this year. Here are some of the advantages of getting your pets vaccinated against rabies.
- Your pet’s safety against wildlife with rabies disease.
- Your safety from contracting rabies from your pets after they are exposed.
- Saving you from legal complications if your pet bites a person.
These are some of the reasons why people don’t vaccinate their pets against rabies and solutions for them.
- Cost of vaccination: There are many low-cost vaccine clinics for your pets in metro-detroit.
- Indoor cats: Rabies vaccine is still recommended since cats can escape outside. Majority of rabies cases are found in bats and they can come indoors.
- Inconvenience of brining your pet to a vet clinic: Some pets are very difficult to be transported to a vet clinic. There are house-call veterinarians who can come to your place to vaccinate pets. Also, you may discuss with your veterinarian if sedative can help with the transportation process.
By the way, our friend Dodger is still running in the backyard playing fetch thanks to his owner, who took the responsibility to get him vaccinated for rabies.
Clinical signs of rabies: http://www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases/0,4579,7-186-25807-73278–,00.html
Maps of rabies positive cases in Michigan: http://www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases/0,1607,7-186-25807_26084-74189–,00.html
Rabies protocol: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/rabies_pets_flowchart_134247_7.pdf
Oakland county rabies information: http://www.oakgov.com/health/assets/Documents/fs_rabies.pdf
Washtenaw county rabies information: http://www.ewashtenaw.org/government/departments/public_health/disease_control/bitesrabies