Identification of Rabies and How to Protect Yourself and Your Pets

Wild animals can be troublesome to homeowners in a variety of ways from destroying property to contaminating food supplies but the health risks they pose are the biggest cause for alarm.  The most common disease that homeowners fear from wild mammals is rabies.  Rabies is a severe, infectious disease that attacks the central nervous system in mammals.  It is possible for humans to become infected with rabies if they are bitten by an infected animal.  Recognizing the symptoms in wild animals can help you avoid infected animals and keep your pets safe as well.

Rabies Identification

The vast majority of rabies cases in North America are attributed to wild mammals with the most common carriers including raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes, and coyotes.  Most animals that are infected with rabies exhibit peculiar behavior that is characteristic of the disease.  Animals with rabies are easily agitated, salivate profusely, and snap or bite at nothing and they may also seem partially paralyzed or disoriented when they move.  It is possible that these symptoms could be caused by another disease such as distemper, but it is still recommended to avoid any animal exhibiting this odd behavior.

How Rabies is Spread

While rabies can spread to humans, it is quite rare as there are only 28 reported fatal cases of rabies in the United States within the last 10 years.  It is spread exclusively through saliva as opposed to blood, urine, or feces because the virus can only survive in saliva.  In order for humans to become infected, they must be bitten by an infected animal and the bite has to break skin.  The rabies virus cannot infect someone through unbroken skin.  If you are bitten by a wild mammal that could have rabies and the bite has broken the skin, you should seek medical treatment immediately.

How to protect yourself from rabies

The best way to protect yourself and your pets from rabies is to avoid wild animals that may be rabid and get your pets vaccinated for the disease.  If you or your pet is bitten by a wild animal, immediately flush the wound with water and use antiseptic soap to clean the area.  After cleaning the wound, you should seek treatment as soon as possible from a doctor or veterinarian if your animal was bitten.  In some cases of rabies, humans unknowingly contracted the disease by being bitten by a bat.  If you discover that you may have come into contact with a bat, it is safer to assume that you have been bitten and act accordingly.  It is important to seek medical treatment immediately after being bitten by a potentially infected animal because rabies will become fatal in people and pets if it is not treated right away.


If you suspect you may have a animal infestation, call us immediately at 847-464-1861 for removal. We are trained professionals and equipped to deal with animal exclusion and removal, including humane live animal trapping (never poisons!). We will remove the animal and fix any property damage they may have caused. Click to read more about animal removal services from Attic Solutions.

Identification of Rabies and How to Protect Yourself and Your Pets was last modified: May 30th, 2014 by Attic Solutions

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