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Last year Dr. McKenzie wrote about her own personal experiences with the dangers of rabies in our previous blog “Cats and Bats and Rabies, oh my”!

We felt the need to revisit the subject as we are receiving NUMEROUS calls about bat encounters this year. Also there has been one case of human death from rabies in Canada this year, a young BC man who passed away after an encounter with a rabid bat.

Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system of mammals, including humans. Once clinical signs appear, rabies is almost always fatal in animals and people. In Canada, the animals that most often transmit rabies are bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes.

In the last couple of weeks, we have been receiving calls on an almost daily basis of bat encounters in the home. Dr. McKenzie herself had another bat this year which TESTED POSITIVE FOR RABIES. This is very concerning to us for both human and pet health!

It’s also why we stress rabies vaccines even if your cat is indoors. Unfortunately disease can still make its way into your home via a vector like a bat. In many of the calls we have received a cat has had actual contact (eg bat in the cat’s mouth) which could be very deadly for your kitty and you!

If you do find a bat in your home, the best thing to do if possible is to take it to the local health unit to be tested for rabies.

If you or your family members have ANY physical contact with the bat, go to your local health unit ASAP. Even if you aren’t sure (eg you wake up and you see a bat flying around your bedroom) still go as you could have had contact without knowing in your sleep! It’s better to be safe than sorry. Rabies vaccines are really not traumatic, no worse than a flu shot, as our technicians and veterinarians can attest to.

If you suspect your pet had any physical contact with the bat, please call us to discuss rabies vaccine status. Even if your pet is vaccinated, depending on the timing of previous vaccines, we would recommend revaccinating your pet.

Call us at 905-372-2721 if you have any questions if you or your pet has had an encounter with a bat.

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