Thursday, June 11, 2015

Rabies, Tollwut, Rabia, even Rabbia, it's all the Rage

We're lucky in the UK in that we don't have rabies to contend with. Unless you're a Daubenton's bat, in which case you apparently have a 10 in 12,000 chance of having the rabies-like European Bat Lyssa Virus.

The last recorded death from handling an infected bat in the UK was in 2002, so we effectively don't have rabies, and yet most of us really don't realise just how lucky that makes us.

As animal lovers, if we come across an unknown dog or cat, our concerns mostly centre on whether we're going to get to say hello properly, or whether they'll try to avoid us.

We don't have to worry about whether there's a risk of an unprovoked and uncharacteristic attack that could give us a fatal illness (rabies), which is how it is in many other parts of the world. In fact, world wide about 100 children die of rabies every single day.

Hence the Mission Rabies campaign, actively supported by our colleagues at Davies Veterinary Specialists.

It might seem as if rabies is a far distant problem, but just across the water in France it's a different story. In fact most years they have a case or outbreak and this year is no exception.

Last month, a seven month old puppy that had initially been illegally imported into France from Hungary without identification or vaccination, was then taken to Algeria where he escaped, but was eventually found again and brought back to France.

Once there, he had contact with numerous people, several of whom he bit and was finally taken to the vet who correctly suspected rabies. He was placed under quarantine but died overnight.

The standard regulation zone that has to be set up around a rabies incident restricts the movement of all cats, dogs and other carnivores and any unvaccinated animals simply have to be euthanased.

So... if you're going abroad, remember rabies vaccination for pets is essential, particularly if you want to bring them back to the UK. Back in the day when we used to have to blood test them all, as many as 1 in 20 used to fail after the first vaccination, so although the law does not require it, you might want to ask your vet to take the blood test anyway.

It's better than rabies.

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