Protect you and your pets from rabies

Shannon Barlow, Assistant Director, Amarillo Animal Control
Shannon Barlow, Assistant Director, Amarillo Animal Control

Proactive prevention is the best way to keep your family and your pets from contracting rabies. A rabid bat recently found in Amarillo has doctors and animal control officers on their toes to help educate you.

A Hoary bat like this one was recently found in Amarillo city limits hanging on the outside wall of a family's home at 4:00 pm.

Local officials tell us abnormal behavior like that is the first sign something's wrong.

"A nocturnal animal that is active during the day probably has a problem, and probably going to be rabies," said Shannon Barlow, assistant director at Amarillo Animal Control.

Animals recently infected with rabies don't usually show signs like crazy behavior or foaming at the mouth.

"Most times your not going to see the end stages of rabies," said Barlow.  "It's pretty rare to see any animal that's displaying any kind of clinical signs of rabies."

Local veterinarian doctor Merten Pearson tells us that once the symptoms go past that first phase, it is almost 100 percent fatal.

But pet-owners can prevent that with annual rabies shots--required by law.

"If you have not provided that protection for your pet it is very possible that they could be exposed to a rabid animal and then develop the signs," said Pearson.

Not protecting your pets can mean that you are not protected.

If an animal gets bit while you're at work, they could be infected and transfer that disease on to you.

"If you vaccinate your pets, in effect you have protected yourself," said Barlow.

Rabies vaccinations are fairly affordable, ranging from $12-$30 a year.