September 23-29 is Rabies Awareness Week in Virginia.
Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system and is most commonly found in wild mammals, such as raccoons, foxes, and skunks.
Virginia’s Rabies Awareness Week centers around World Rabies Day, which falls on September 28.
There are many ways you can prevent and control the spread of rabies:
- Have your veterinarian vaccinate your dogs, cats, ferrets, and selected livestock. Keep the vaccinations up-to-date.
- If your pet is attacked or bitten by a wild animal, report it to the local health or animal control authorities. Depending on the situation, keep in mind that your pet may need a rabies booster vaccination and be restricted to your property for a period of time.
- If you are bitten by an animal, wash the wound thoroughly and report the bite to your local health department.
- Limit the possibility of exposure by keeping your animals on your property. Don’t let pets roam free.
- Do not leave garbage or pet food outside. It may attract wild or stray animals.
- Do not keep wild animals as pets. Enjoy all wild animals from a distance, even if they seem friendly. A rabid animal sometimes acts tame. If you see an animal acting strangely, especially if rabies exposures may have occurred, report it to your local animal control department and do not approach it.
- If you think a wild animal needs help, don’t take matters into your own hands, but rather contact the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or a licensed, Wildlife rehabilitator for guidance. Both Southwest Virginia Wildlife Rescue and Roanoke Wildlife Rescue are both licensed Wildlife rehabilitators in our area that are great resources if needed.
- Stray domestic animals, especially if they appear ill or injured, should be brought to the attention of local animal control authorities. If you think a stray animal needs help, contact your local animal control office for guidance.
If you have questions about your pet’s rabies vaccination status, please call our office at 540-776-0700 and our staff will be happy to help you!