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Rabies is a virus that attacks the nervous system. The virus is spread through exposure to a rabid animal. An exposure can be a bite or scratch. If saliva or brain tissue from an infected animal gets into a wound or into the eye or mouth, this is also an exposure.
There is no treatment for the virus: It kills almost any mammal, including humans, that gets sick from it. That's why it's important to seek treatment before you become sick. Only mammals get rabies. Birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians do not get rabies. Skunks, bats, foxes, raccoons, dogs, cats and some farm animals are most likely to get rabies. The risk of getting rabies from squirrels, mice, rats and other rodents is very low.
- Contact your local emergency room or family physician and follow their advice.
- Contact your local animal control office (on weekends you may contact your local law enforcement office). The dog or cat will need to be confined for at least 10 days to be sure that the rabies virus was not transmitted at the time of the bite.
- Report the incident to your local health department or animal control office (on weekends you may contact your local law enforcement office).
- Contact your veterinarian so that your dog, cat or ferret can receive a booster vaccination.
- Report the bite to your local health department. The health department will ask you to confine your dog, cat or ferret for 10 days.
- Don't let the animal stray and don't give the animal away during the confinement period. It must be available for observation by public health authorities.
Keep your pets currently vaccinated for the rabies virus!(This protects them from contracting the rabies virus if exposed.)