Eek! I Found My Pet Playing with a Bat! What Do I Do?
Dogs like to pick up dead and injured animals, and cats just love delivering presents to their humans. Unfortunately, these habits aren’t sanitary. When a bat is involved, these habits are downright dangerous. So, what should you do if you find your pet with a bat or suspect your pet might have been exposed to a bat?
What to Do If You Find Your Pet with a Bat (or Near a Bat)
Bats are nocturnal animals that come out at night. Bats found on the ground or out during the daytime are typically sick and often have rabies. The bats that our pets are able to catch or roll on have a high probability of being sick.
If you find your pet with a bat:
Do not touch the bat with your bare hands!
Wearing thick gloves, pick the bat up and put it in a disposable container. The bat might need to be sent away for testing.
Contact your veterinarian.
If a person had any contact with the bat, call the county health department and your family doctor immediately.
What's So Scary about Rabies?
Rabies is a virus that is transmitted through saliva, usually through the bite of an infected animal. It can be carried, transmitted, and contracted by any warm-blooded animal including cats, dogs, and humans.
The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, making its way to the brain where it causes inflammation that is usually fatal. Once a rabies infection is established in the body, there’s no treatment. This is why it’s essential to vaccinate animals against rabies and for humans to seek immediate treatment if there’s been any chance of exposure.
Update Your Pet's Rabies Vaccine with a Preventative Care Appointment in Tucson
The best way to protect your pet from rabies is with a regular schedule of rabies vaccinations. Puppies and kittens typically receive their first rabies vaccination between 14 and 16 weeks of age. Pets should then receive regular, ongoing booster shots. Depending on the type of rabies booster administered, adult cats and dogs will need a rabies booster every one to three years.
If you’re not sure whether your cat or dog is adequately protected, we strongly encourage you to schedule a preventative care exam at Adobe Veterinary Center. Our veterinarian can help you determine when your pet last received a rabies vaccination and ensure he or she is up to date with all pet vaccines. To schedule an appointment for your pet in Tucson, contact us today.
Our practice is unique in that we provide medical care to multiple species in the greater Tucson area. Three of our veterinarians specialize in the care of dogs and cats and the other three veterinarians specialize in the care of horses and livestock.