Due to the recent tragedy of the 6-year-old boy in Florida dying of rabies virus after having contact with a rabies-infected bat, we at WRAH wanted to do a short blurb on rabies virus from a global perspective and how to keep you, your family, and your pets safe!
“Rabies may be the oldest infectious disease known to man…more than 55,00 people die of rabies ever year in Asia and Africa and 98% of those cases are due to people being bitten by dogs that are not vaccinated.”1,2,3 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the USA, “rabies virus represents a serious threat to the health of people and animals.”1 Rabies in humans and animals is 100% fatal once neurologic signs develop and is transmitted by the bite of an infected animal. Wild animals that are infected with rabies virus tend to be out during the day and may be easily approached. If you see a wild animal, especially out during the day, DO NOT approach or touch it, but DO call Greeley, or your local, Animal Control office.
While many cases of rabies virus are acquired from wildlife, particularly bats, in 2014, rabid cats were reported four times more than rabid dogs.1 Cats are also less likely to be brought in to see a veterinarian. In a 2011 American Veterinary Medical Association study, only 55% of US cat owners visited a veterinarian, which is much less compared to 81% of dog owners.1 If you have a dog or cat that has free roam of the outdoors and it sustains a bite wound from an unknown animal, we recommend that you seek immediate veterinary attention and that pet may receive a rabies vaccine booster.
In accordance with state and federal law, we recommend that dogs and cats be vaccinated for rabies virus at 16 weeks of age, this vaccine lasts for a year, then dogs can be vaccinated every 3 years, while cats are to be vaccinated yearly. We also recommend ferrets be vaccinate yearly for rabies virus, which is started at 4 months old.
Thank you for helping us keep Weld County healthy by vaccinating your pets! Keeping the whole family healthy starts with your pets!
*For more information on Colorado Laws, the laws that enforce rabies vaccination in dogs, cats, and ferrets are (Colorado Revised Statute) C.R.S. 25-4-607 and (Code of Colorado Regulations) 6 CCR 1009-1, Regulation 8.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017 September 25). The Burden of Rabies.
Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/features/dsrabies/index.html. Accessed January 17, 2018.
- Day, M. J. (2011). One health: The importance of companion animal vector-borne diseases.
Parasites & Vectors, 4(49).
- Roth, J. (2001). Veterinary vaccines and their importance to animal health and public health.
Procedia in Vaccinology, 5, 127-136.