While rabies is a terrible and fatal thing to have happen, there are steps you can take for rabies prevention in Carroll County. To understand rabies prevention, it is best to understand rabies. Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system. It can affect any warm-blooded animal and is almost always fatal. The most common carriers of rabies are raccoons, bats, skunks, and foxes. Human rabies cases are rare and number about two cases per year, but average about 400 to 500 cases a year for domestic pets. Fortunately, most states have laws requiring rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats, which can help prevent Old Yeller’s fate happening to your pet. Rabies prevention in Carroll County is only as effective as the measures you take to prevent wildlife from getting into your home or near your pets. Because there is no way to test for rabies while the virus is live, it is important to take some extra precautions. How can you tell if an animal is presenting with rabies symptoms? They typically will demonstrate behavioral changes, such as anxiety, aggression, or unusual friendliness. They can also develop hypersensitivity to light and sound, which may also lead to seizures. Finally, they will be unable to swallow and will salivate excessively, leading to respiratory distress, which is the last stage of the rabies virus. So what steps can you take for rabies prevention in Carroll County? For starters, don’t keep wild animals as pets. Wildlife control often encounters exotic animals that have been kept as pets and cannot be properly vaccinated against rabies. You should also avoid direct contact with wildlife – regardless of whether it is sick or injured – if you can’t help it, at the very least, wear gloves. If you see a sick or injured animal, your best bet is to contact your local wildlife control agency, such as Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control or a local humane society. Our technicians are trained to properly handle local wildlife, especially those with rabies. We use humane removal and control methods that eliminate any potential to harm to both humans and the wildlife. Other measures you can take include preventing your domesticated pets from interacting with wild animals – don’t let your pets roam and be sure to feed them indoors so as to not attract stray dogs, cats, and other wildlife. Also, make sure your trash cans are properly shut so wildlife can’t get in – don’t leave anything outside! And finally, report all stray animals to animal control. Stray animals may not be vaccinated and may have been exposed to wild animals that are carrying rabies. And remember! Get your pets vaccinated! If you discover a wild animal that is displaying rabies symptoms, do not hesitate to give us a call at 443-417-3137.