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Rabid raccoons present danger.

A new strain of rabies is being spread by raccoons. It started in Florida and is spreading northward and westward. Two reasons have been given for the spread.

Because it's a new strain, animals do not have any natural resistance. And the low price of raccoon pelts has decreased hunting activity, thereby allowing populations to increase.

People and pets are particularly vulnerable to raccoon bites because raccoons inhabit residential areas and can almost become pets themselves.

While the new rabies strain predominately affects raccoons now, it can be spread to livestock, pets and humans. Household pets, including cats, should be vaccinated for rabies on a regular basis.

Symptoms of rabies in animals are odd or unusual behavior, such as a nocturnal animal being out during the day or a wild animal with no fear of humans; aggressiveness; inability to swallow (the cause of excess saliva); lack of coordination; and paralysis.

Any animal which inflicts a bite must be quarantined. Animals which cannot safely be captured should be killed for testing. If rabies is detected in the animal or if the animal cannot be tested, treating humans requires a preventive series of five shots over a one month period at a cost of $700-$1000

There is no treatment for rabies once contracted, and the fatality rate is 99 percent.

Note: A bite isn't necessary to get the disease: it's spread by saliva.

The rabies danger here in New York can't be stressed too much. Clara Duggar was bitten by a rabid raccoon in her own barn and had to undergo the shots to prevent her from getting this lethal disease. If wild life isn't where it should be, acting like it normally does, stay away from it! It may behoove us all to get our goats vaccinated as well, even though there is no specific vaccine for them. The one most commonly used is ImRab, which is approved for sheep, so it should be safe for goats. Rabies isn't something to fool around with.
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Author:Scharabok, Ken
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Jan 1, 1994
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