Rabies cases have been reported throughout Louisiana recently.
By law, anyone who owns a dog, cat or ferret more than 3 months old must have it vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian. It is important to use caution around unfamiliar animals, even puppies or kittens: They may seem harmless, but can carry the disease if not vaccinated.
Unlike some other diseases that cannot be passed from animals to human, rabies can. It is caused by a virus and is primarily a disease of wild animals, such as raccoons, skunks, coyotes, foxes and bats, but it is easily transferred to both common companion animals and humans. Rabies can be deadly if not treated.
The rabies vaccination for dogs is mandatory in all states, yet an estimated 50 percent of all dogs are not vaccinated. Properly vaccinated animals stand very little chance of contracting the disease. However, if an animal bites you or your pet, and you do not know whether that animal has been vaccinated within the past year, seek medical attention immediately.
Puppies and kittens often can be vaccinated for rabies as early as 12 weeks of age. The vaccine should not be administered to pets younger than that. Dogs and cats over the age of 12 weeks that are not yet vaccinated against rabies can be vaccinated at any time. The rabies vaccine should be administered again within one year following the initial vaccination. Once the second rabies vaccine has been given, your pet should receive rabies vaccines every one or three years depending on your parish ordinances and vet’s recommendations.
All warm-blooded animals are at risk for contracting rabies. However, some species are more resistant than others. Rabies transmission is almost always through a bite from a rabid animal. Symptoms can vary, and once the virus is contracted, there is no cure. Death is almost always the outcome. The good news is that this disease is very preventable through vaccination. While relatively rare in humans, it is important to take the proper precautions with wild animals and to make sure your pets are vaccinated.
Check with your parish shelter as there are often rabies vaccinations drives throughout the year. Rabies shots are offered at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Shelter on Wednesdays between 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and the Jefferson Parish West Bank Shelter on Tuesdays between 10 a.m. and noon. Animals must be at least 4 months old. Price for intact pets is $20. Price for spayed or neutered pets is $15. Dogs need to be leashed, and cats need to be in carriers. For Orleans Parish, visit www.la-spca.org/communityclinic.
YAPPY HOUR: From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16, 20 percent of all sales at The Bulldog, 3236 Magazine St., New Orleans, will go to the Jefferson SPCA. The event is sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon.
LOUISIANA MEGA MATCH: Adoptions will be $25 on Saturday, Oct. 18, through the Jefferson SPCA, Louisiana SPCA, PAWS (Plaquemines Animal Welfare Society) and CAA (Companion Animal Alliance-Baton Rouge). For information, visit www.louisianamegamatch.com.
SANCTUARY SERVICE DAY: The Humane Society of Louisiana and Doggone Express, Inc., are sponsoring a day of service at the Enoch. J. Donaldson Sanctuary, 31058 Highway 1055, Mount Hermon, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18. For information, send email to email@example.com.
PAWS CAUSE: The SpayMart Paws Cause benefit party will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19, at Southport Hall, 200 Monticello Ave., Old Jefferson. Tickets are $25, which includes food, a silent auction, raffles, door prizes and a cash bar. There will be live music by John Autin and Jukebox Heroes, and performances by the Jail House Rockers and the Dancin’ Queens of New Orleans.
Proceeds will benefit the care of orphaned kittens and adult cats. For information and tickets, call (504) 669-7600 or (504) 343-7000. Tickets also can be purchased at www.spaymart.org.
ADOPTION EVENT: Animal Rescue New Orleans will be at Barcadia, 601 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, from 6 p.m to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, with adoptable dogs. During this time, 20 percent of sales will be donated to ARNO. For information, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to email@example.com. In Jefferson Parish, send to firstname.lastname@example.org and bbourgeois @jeffparish.net, and in St. Bernard Parish, send to email@example.com.
Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.animalrescueneworleans.org or call its recorded information line at (504) 571-1900.