Avoid physical contact, do not feed or handle stray animals – and get your pets vaccinated
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) Two bats found in the southeast Bend area recently tested positive for rabies, Deschutes County health officials said Friday. Rabies is transmitted through the bite of an infected animal, and while post-exposure vaccination is effective, the best plan is prevention, they said.
Deschutes County Health Services reminds you to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your pets from rabies:
- Avoid physical contact with bats – healthy, sick, alive or dead. Be sure to keep children and pets away from bats.
- Do not hand feed or otherwise handle stray animals and wildlife.
- Vaccinate all dogs and cats against rabies. This protects them and provides an immune barrier between humans and wild animals.
While bats play a valuable role in nature, contact with humans should be avoided. Sick bats may be seen flopping around on the ground or otherwise behaving unusually. If you find a sick bat or other sick wildlife on your property, take children and pets indoors and call the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) at (541) 388-6363 or visit this website to contact a local Wildlife Control Operator.
To protect your pet, make sure their rabies vaccinations are up to date. Dogs, cats and ferrets should be vaccinated against rabies at three to six months of age. After initial vaccination, a booster is required in one year and then every three years. Under Oregon law, dogs and cats that do not have current vaccinations and are suspected of being exposed to rabies must be euthanized or placed in strict quarantine for four months.
If a person or pet comes into physical contact with a bat or is bitten by an animal, report it immediately to Deschutes County Animal Control at (541) 693-6911 or Deschutes County Environmental Health at (541) 317-3114.