Protect Yourself and Your Pets: Rabies Awareness Week is Sept. 25th – Oct. 1st

Why should you be concerned about rabies? Because rabies is a highly fatal yet highly preventable illness that can affect any mammal.  

Rabies Awareness Week, Sept. 26th – Oct. 1st, is a good time to make sure your pet is up to date on vaccines and to review what to do if you or your pets are ever potentially exposed to rabies.  

Here are some tips:

  • If you have been bitten by an animal, don’t panic. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water. Treat it as any wound with first aid.  
  • Don’t try to pick up the animal. If you can, capture the animal under a large box or identify it before it runs away. Call an animal control or law enforcement officer to come get it.  
  • Report the bite to your healthcare provider. 
  • If your pet is attacked or bitten by a wild animal, report it to your local health department or animal control authorities. Be sure to follow their instructions for how to manage your pet’s health after a rabies exposure, including getting your vaccinated dog, cat, or ferret a booster rabies vaccination.  

Store garbage in tamper proof containers and keep pet food inside so that wild animals are not attracted to your property.  

Keep your pets from roaming off your property to decrease exposure to wild animals that could have rabies.  

Don’t approach wild animals, no matter how tame they may seem. An animal sick with rabies may act tame. If it is acting strangely, call animal control.  

Call your veterinarian or attend a local rabies vaccination clinic to have your pets vaccinated for rabies. Vaccinating domestic animals for rabies is one of the most important things you can do to protect your pets, yourself, and your community.

To learn more, visit the VDH’s Rabies Control webpage or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Rabies website.