A North Carolina dog, whose rabies shots were not up to date, had to be put down last week when he came in contact with a rabid bat.
The dog’s owner, Wanda Handy, called animal control officers when she heard her dog barking at something in her backyard. She reported that she had seen a bat the day before. Handy also decided to call local health officials because of the strange behavior of her dog and the bat.
The state laboratory confirmed that the bat was rabid. After hearing the news, Handy had to surrender her dog to the health department.
The director of the Moore County Animal Center, Al Carter, said that it was necessary to euthanize the dog because state law requires this when any animal has contact with a rabid animal. Pet owners have two choices when this happens: They may surrender the animal to health officials to be euthanized, or they may place the pet in quarantine at a licensed veterinary hospital for six months.
The law applies only to animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies or whose shots aren’t current. If a dog or cat has been vaccinated, then a booster shot is recommended, but euthanasia is not necessary.
Carter says that although quarantine is an option, few people are in a position to place the animal in isolation. It is an expensive option, costing at least $3,000. Also, there is no guarantee that the animal will not become rabid during the isolation period and still require euthanasia.
State law requires rabies vaccinations for all dogs and cats. Vaccinations are available at all veterinary offices and at clinics sponsored by the Health Department at various times during the year.
Source: The Pilot