Family Dog Euthanized After Coming In Contact With Rabid Bat

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

25 Responses to “Family Dog Euthanized After Coming In Contact With Rabid Bat”

  1. KimS says:

    Why is quarantining him so expensive? Did the dog even get bit by the rabid bat?

  2. Jenny Bark says:

    Rabbies can enter the noise, mouth, eyes & open cut even a scrath. We whent through it. That article is true. I’ll post again after I do Meals On Wheels. I learned a lot. Jenny

  3. Roberto P. says:

    Most kennels around here are $18 per day. That would come to over $3000 for 6 months. I know some states say 3 months. The laws really vary. What saddens me is the animal had been vaccinated before. It’s a shame the law doesn’t allow for titers and boosters. My wife has been vaccinated so she would get 3 shots over a week, rather than 6 shots over 3 weeks that an unvaccinated person would get, when exposed to a rabid animal. It’s so sad about that dog. He could have been one day late on his vaccine. I know how horrible rabies is, and I am not anti-vaccine. I just think that there is not a lot of science behind the current laws. We tried to get the laws changed here with a public debate and the politicos shouted us down (literally). We had science and studies, and they used fear and lies.

  4. catmom5 says:

    Sorry, but my sympathy goes to the dog here. The owner was irresponsible in not keeping him/her up to date with the rabies vaccination. I don’t over-vaccinate, and I’m not meaning to get into that argument here, but rabies is nothing to mess with.

  5. Macushla says:

    A wonderful starving little kitty showed up in December with his back covered in scratches and bites. When we finally managed to catch him, we took him to the vets. They assumed we wanted him put down. Not!Fortunately, they allowed us to keep him quarantined for six months at home (no big deal as we don’t let our cats out). We kept a close eye on him and kept him away from our other cats (both former strays) for the first couple of months. Six months of quarantine is too long and unnecessary. The hard part was getting him neutered as my vet wouldn’t do it. Finally we found a rescue organization who helped us get the surgery for him. He is a wonderful love and has brought such joy to our house. Animals shouldn’t have to be quarantined at a vets/kennel — at long as you keep a close eye for the first few weeks, they’re perfectly fine at home. I suspect that, due to the mandated vets/kennel quarantine, many animals have been put down than need be. The interesting part is that no one ever bothered to check on him. He’s now a healthy and happy part of our household.

  6. Roberto P. says:

    I still think we need real science here. Different places have different standards. New Zealand changed their immigration laws to allow animals in after a 30 day quarantine, if they have been vaccinated and have what is considered an appropriate titer. And they are still rabies free. England still does the vaccine / 6 month quarantine. I live in a high risk area. A woman got bitten by a rabid otter at a lake last summer. The Health Dept. made sure she got her vaccinations according to the schedule. But they didn’t put her in isolation for 6 months. It’s not considered necessary for humans. The laws are very inconsistent. And many of the “alternative” vets are telling people 2 rabies vaccines give lifetime immunity.

  7. mikken says:

    That poor dog was put down for no reason at all - just because his shots weren’t “current” doesn’t mean that he wasn’t protected against rabies.

    Folks need to read up on their immunology…

  8. Heather says:

    You are right Mikken, folks do need to read up on immunology. When was the last time any of you had a vaccination? We overvaccinate our animals to the hilt. Just because the dog wasn’t current, doesn’t mean he wasn’t protected. Do you really think that animals need to have booster shots *every* year?
    Check out the rabies challenge:
    They are funding a study to prove rabies vaccinations last longer. The manufacturers won’t fund this kind of study of course because it costs to much and quite frankly affects their bottom line.

  9. wescott20 says:

    I agree…totally unnecesary death for the dog, thanks to the indifference and carelessness of his owner. Why not put him in quarantine? $3000.00 dollars is a small price to pay to keep a beloved pet alive. State and city laws have no respect or value for the life of pets…it’s up to their owners to stand up for them and make some sacrifices to ensure their animal’s safety, even if that includes going into financial debt.

  10. Jenny Bark says:

    This happened to us about 5 years ago (give or take). I was out working in the yard on my knees & a raccoon came after me. Three of my dogs where outside too. I never seen the raccoon comming but they did. They fought & fought like a well trained army. I picked my little digger (all I had with me) and fought with them. My husband who is never home in the day was home (God was with us) and came running with a shovel. He couldn’t get a good hit because of our babies. My babies always listen but they wouldn’t listen to nothing then. I grabbed 1 dog at a time (all I could manage) and took them into the house untill I had them all in. The dogs had broken all 4 legs but the ranccoon still fought, my husband killed it. I worked in a hospital so dumb me I thought the dogs would be ok but I knew we needed shots. Saliva was everywhere dogs & us. I called our wonderful vet (praise God) and she told me to bring all of my dogs & kittie over right away for a boaster shot and gave Art directions to infection control in Oakland (a part of Pittsburgh, Pa.) to have the racoon tested. We never found a bite on the dogs and the 20# raccoon had full blown rabbies.
    They came after us but fast. I hid my other dogs & Kitty. I had to have all my shot records & then they still called my vet to comfirm. They still wanted to give my babies a shot. I would’t let them, didn’t trust them or what may of been in the shot. I won but only because they already had their boaster shot. If their shots where not up to date by even a day they had to be put to sleep or in their choice of a vet kennel, in seperate cages for 6 months and we had to pay. They were put on house arest for 6 months and they had a vet check on us for 6 months. They said they would spot check after that but they never did. I heard the law is harder now but I can’t confirm that. I live in Pa..
    Mikken I agree with you 100% but unless I see the law written different all my babies have their shots before time. We have 1acre of wooded fenced in propery with streams around it. My dogs have fought raccoons before & after but not rabid thats a totally different fight. I never want to let anyone have my babies.

  11. Lis says:

    wescott20, $3000.00 may have been a completely impossible sum for the woman to pay. Not everyone has that amount of money, and not everyone is in a position to get credit. I would be far more inclined to criticize her for not keeping his rabies vaccination current, but from the information given we don’t know whether his vacc was a year out of date, or a month, or a single day. And since more and more people are aware that medically rabies shots are likely not necessary as often as they are required (especially in jurisdictions that still require annual rabies vaccination), a great many people who would certainly consider themselves responsible pet owners would not worry about a few days. Few people are paranoid enough to imagine their pets being put down on a technicality.

  12. Jenny Bark says:

    P.S. to above post. My husband & I did get shots because of cuts on our hands but nobody ever checked on us or even cared to find out if we got shots.

  13. Holly says:

    Wow, I’m a little surprised with some of the comments. I totally expected everyone to blast this person for being so “irresponsible” for not vaccinating yearly. The recommendations surrounding how often to vaccinate vary greatly from clinic to clinic. I was given a recommended letter of change to vaccine protocols from a vet college in the states 12 years ago. It stated that vaccines need not be given yearly but a 3 year protocol was recommended. Where I live in Canada, these changes are just being implemented but some vets only. I have a customer that vaccinated her dog 12 years ago for rabies and has titres done every year. Those levels have not changed (dramatically) in 11 years! She has not vaccinated since the one and only shot. As a vet tech, I was given a rabies vax in 1990 while in school. Every couple of years a nurse goes to the clinics, draws blood and checks the titre. No way in heck will a vaccine be given without a titre being done. I don’t know why. Is it cheaper? Is it risky to vaccinate when not necessary? I haven’t asked the health nurse for her opinion (I have my own) because I don’t work in a clinic anymore. I believe a lot of the medicine being practiced is not based on science - as the one person posted. It’s based on fear and the premise of “that’s how we always did it”. Doesn’t make it right.

    I feel sad that the people opted for euthanasia over quarantining their pet. The government pays for (or rather the tax payer pays) so why not help the pet “guardian” (not owner, a pet is not a vacuum cleaner) pay the quarantine fees? It’s easier to kill the pet and cut the head off and submit it for testing (and safer) but many pets are negative. These people were likely terrified by what the officials were saying. Its sad.

    Does anyone realize that vaccines are not safe? They have damaged and killed many a person and pet. Do you know that the only reason they have a 3 year lifespan, i.e. they recommend boosting every three years (or 1 year depending on the vaccine you get) is because they only follow those test subjects for three years and they KILL them? That way, they can’t say that the vaccine lasts longer in the body because they DON’T KNOW. That is what the vaccine challenge is all about. Lets actually monitor how long these vaccines produce antibodies instead of using very poor medicine of dogs. Again, they don’t do that with people. Laziness and for profit. Besides, the immune system doesn’t work the way vaccines work. Vaccines have caused the very disease they have been used to prevent, rabies being one of them (there are documented cases). I for one am not in support of vaccinating and laying claim to my pets/childrens health. Rabies caused my dog’s paralysis. 18 months of that from a vaccine with extremely low risk of even coming into contact with a rabid animal. It ultimately took his life - one that I’m sure would have been much longer without rabies “protection”.

    I hope everyone reading this does a little more research on the vaccine issue. There are many knowledgable vets, doctors, homeopaths out there that have some good information. It is up to you to be your pet’s advocate. Ask for package inserts with ANY medication your pet is on. That includes vaccines. It is not a coincidence that the Merck Veterinary Manual clearly states that “annual vaccinations are unnecessary”. I then ask, why 3 years, why not 4? And if people are tested and their rabies titres are acknowledged as individual and they are vaccinated according to that, why are our pets not given the same consideration? It’s up to us to step up to the plate and demand better care for our pets. I go to my vet for his opinion, then I decide if I will take his advice or I will seek out alternatives. (I do the SAME thing at the doctors office for my children.) Be a voice for your pets. Get educated!

    guardian to Summer, Silken, Balto, Tippy, and Eclipse. Speaking for Jackson, Mandy, Teppo, Gator, Tigger and Norm - gone but not forgotten because they were my teachers.

    BTW, why can’t we pay for shots for our pets just like humans can get after the attack? Food for thought: Margaret Mead once said…”Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

  14. Holly says:

    BTW, why can’t we pay for shots for our pets just like humans can get after the attack? Food for thought: Margaret Mead once said…”Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

  15. ellie says:

    But what happened to this poor dog was a matter of a legal mandate, not a medical decision. Whatever one believes about rabies vaccinations, as long as the law mandates them, a responsible pet owner has little choice–except to advocate change in the law.

    All else aside, I’m surprised at the six-month quarantine. Wouldn’t rabies show up in the possibly exposed dog much more quickly than six months?

  16. Jenny Bark says:

    The truth is I don’t know. What they told us is most rabbies show up within 6 months but could take as long as a year. I believe my babies where protected but I didn’t have any choices if I wanted to keep them.

  17. JJ in IL says:

    When did it turn into 6 months? Yrs. ago my lil sheltie girl bit someone while going thru a false pregnancy when we were returning from a walk. Cops came out and told me since the shots were up to date I would have to home quarantine her for 3 weeks which I did. Now with any other dogs I have titre tests done after the initial vaccinations. Will not lose another dog to a comped immune system from over vaccinations. People please do your research even though your state may say its mandatory - you can do the titre tests. Too many animals die needlessly from too much in their systems.

  18. Sandy says:

    I always thought if they had their shots they would just be watched at home. This is insane IMO :( AND SAD

  19. mikken says:

    According to Bat Conservation International, there has never been a documented case of bat to dog rabies transmission.

    My dogs are all rescues, so already over vaccinated…they’ll never get another shot again and yes, they’re all as immune as they’re ever going to get - you cannot “booster” immunity, folks.

  20. CatLover says:

    I have to agree that $3000 is a lot for many, many people - most people in this country. I’ve spent multiples of that in a year for vet care, however I know few other people who can. A close friend had a choice of pricey vet care for an elderly dog or a very specialized, necessary hearing aid for her toddler. She chose to purchase the hearing aid and I supported her, even though it meant her dog was euthanized. Too many animals lovers are becoming unrealistic and unreasonable in their expectations of pet owners. The average sole proprietor vet clinic is extremely inefficient at delivering care. We don’t want big chain Walmart-style vet care but that’s what will happen if vets don’t change the model themselves to keep vet care within reach of the average family.

  21. CatLover says:

    Sorry for going off topic there. I’m just tired of seeing those comments castigating devoted pet owners who don’t have money trees in the backyard.

  22. ellie says:

    CatLover says:

    Sorry for going off topic there. I’m just tired of seeing those comments castigating devoted pet owners who don’t have money trees in the backyard.


    I’d castigate her for not keeping her dog’s vaccinations up to date. It doesn’t matter if it was an oversight or a decision based on her belief that it wasn’t medically necessary. She had an obligation to obey the law, and it’s the poor dog who paid for her failure to do so.

    It’s all well and good for people to debate the medical need or lack thereof for rabies vaccinations, but the bottom line is, a responsible pet owner needs to obey the law of the community or face the consequences.

  23. Jenny Bark says:

    I don’t believe in all the shots either but you are so right. If your babies get in trouble with a rabid animal or bites someone and you don’t have the shots, your babies are going to lose and the law is going to win. The laws seems to me to be getting harder on the aminals & owners. I wish things would change the other way but for now that is just the way it is.

  24. Holly says:

    Yes, it is about choices. In Canada, well here, if your dog bites someone and they do have thier rabies vax, it is an 11 day quarantine (which is a joke). See how much they rely on that vaccine? Many people, myself included are opting to break the law. There are many people who believe as I do and if we do not stick together, how can we become a voice for change to ultimately protect our pets? Many people here are also breaking the law but are unaware of it because their vets are recommending they vaccinate for rabies every three years, when in fact the city by-law states that dogs must be vaccinated yearly. A conondrum I would say. So somewhere along the way, there will be a meltdown and the issues will have to be addressed…who is right? the vet or the city? We shall see.

    We have choices and I have made mine and if and when I am in a situation regarding rabies vaccine, I will deal with it. But after having dogs my whole life and taking them camping, hiking and all across this country, I have yet to encounter any sort of feral creature. So that is my choice. And should I ever encounter a situation that warrants my dog in quarantine, I will do it and pay the money in a heartbeat. I fully understand that not everyone is financially able to pay giant bills for thier pets. But please don’t tell me they do not have a choice, because we all do. We make them everyday. Can we live with them is the question?


  25. sandi says:

    Correct Rabies can lay dormant for up to a year in a human .

    I remember one story in a nursing journal several years ago, a man was bitten forgot about it, was in africa, became ill with rabies, it lay dormant in his body for cose to a year, of course he expired from it.


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