RABIES IN THE MACKLIN/PROVOST AREA
A bat was found acting strangely this week and the people who found it had the foresight to bring the bat in to Border Vet Clinic for rabies testing. Turns out, the bat was POSITIVE for RABIES which is quite unprecedented in the area as we haven't seen a positive case at BVC in 30 years or more. Rabies has always been present in Canada, but mainly in wildlife like bats, skunks and raccoons, occasionally popping up in cats, dogs or livestock, with potential spread to humans too, being a zoonotic virus that is invariably fatal. It is good sense to be wary of any wildlife (esp. these species) that look unusually slow, tame, or disabled - they may be sick!
Many people immediately think of the symptoms being viciousness and foaming at the mouth which can happen as the virus attacks the brain and nervous system. Changes in behavior and mental state are common and drooling or foaming may happen as the swallowing reflex becomes paralyzed. Be aware, however, you can also see lethargy and depression, aversion to food/water, and incoordination, in contrast to the furious form with excitement and aggression.
Transmission requires a bite from a symptomatic animal for saliva to blood contact, but we are also concerned with any saliva to wound or blood to blood contact.
There is no treatment for rabies, vaccination is the only way to protect yourself and your pets and to keep the disease in check. Exposure of unvaccinated animals results in quarantine or euthanasia and undue stress for families. VACCINATE for rabies for protection and peace of mind!