From the Parker County Sheriff’s Office:
Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler is making a public service announcement regarding rabies cases “reported” on social media.
On May 13, the Sheriff’s Office was notified of a goat owner who previously euthanized her own pet goat on suspicions of the goat contracting rabies from a suspected skunk bite.
“Although the sheriff’s office was notified Sunday of a potential animal rabies case, we were not initially notified that a person had been bitten,” said Sheriff Larry Fowler. “We were notified of a Facebook post containing incorrect information regarding this incident earlier today. As of today, we have contacted the woman who stated she was bitten by her pet goat. We would also like to note, the victim is not a shelter volunteer and is not associated with our animal shelter in any way, as implied in the post. We have confirmed she is a volunteer for a private rescue group.”
The individual was reportedly bitten by her pet goat on Monday, April 23, and began medical treatment on Saturday, May 12.
“We certainly hope for a full recovery of the victim,” Sheriff Fowler said. “Unfortunately, we will never know if the goat actually had rabies because of the delay in reporting the incident, and the victim had disposed of the deceased goat’s carcass prior to our notification.”
Proper protocol regarding all animal bites is to seek immediate medical attention, and contact the proper law enforcement agency directly, so a proper and thorough investigation can be conducted.
“It is vital for the safety of the public that all bite incidents are reported and medical treatment is sought,” said Sheriff Fowler. “Those who delay medical treatment and postpone reporting the incident are only endangering themselves and that of the public.”
All citizens need to be aware that every wild and stray animal should be treated as if they are rabies positive, and to take all precautionary measures in avoiding contact.
A baby goat belonging to the victim in this case was tested for rabies this morning and those results are pending with the State, as of today.
Also as of today, we have not received any positive reports of persons or animals contracting the rabies virus within Parker County this year. The Facebook post stating there are nine confirmed reported cases of rabies in our county this year is false. As of today, our office has confirmed with the Texas Department of State Health Services that there are no cases of rabies involving humans or animals in Parker County this year.
“This in no way affects the level of precaution which should be taken when encountering wild or stray animals,” said Sheriff Fowler.”
The PCSO has taken some educational information from the Center for Disease Control and included it to better inform the public:
The first symptoms of rabies may be very similar to those of the flu including general weakness or discomfort, fever, or headache. These symptoms may last for days. There may be also discomfort or a prickling or itching sensation at the site of bite, progressing within days to symptoms of cerebral dysfunction, anxiety, confusion, agitation. As the disease progresses, the person may experience delirium, abnormal behavior, hallucinations, and insomnia. The acute period of disease typically ends after two to 10 days. Once clinical signs of rabies appear, the disease is nearly always fatal, and treatment is typically supportive. Disease prevention includes administration of both passive antibody, through an injection of human immune globulin and a round of injections with rabies vaccine. Once a person begins to exhibit signs of the disease, survival is rare. To date less than 10 documented cases of human survival from clinical rabies have been reported and only two have not had a history of pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis.
What can you do?
- Vaccinate your pet
- Maintain control of your pets to reduce their exposure to wildlife
- Spay or neuter to decrease the number of stray animals
- Report any stray or ill animals to animal control
Learn more about World Rabies Day.
Any animal bitten or scratched by either a wild, carnivorous mammal or a bat that is not available for testing should be regarded as having been exposed to rabies. Unvaccinated dogs, cats, and ferrets exposed to a rabid animal should be euthanized immediately. If the owner is unwilling to have this done, the animal should be placed in strict isolation for 6 months and vaccinated 1 month before being released. Animals with expired vaccinations need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Dogs and cats that are currently vaccinated are kept under observation for 45 days. Small mammals such as squirrels, rats, mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, chipmunks, rabbits, and hares are almost never found to be infected with rabies and have not been known to cause rabies among humans in the United States. Bites by these animals are usually not considered a risk of rabies unless the animal was sick or behaving in any unusual manner and rabies is widespread in your area. However, from 1985 through 1994, woodchucks accounted for 86% of the 368 cases of rabies among rodents reported to CDC. Woodchucks or groundhogs (Marmota monax) are the only rodents that may be frequently submitted to state health department because of a suspicion of rabies. In all cases involving rodents, the state or local health department should be consulted before a decision is made to initiate postexposure prophylaxis (PEP).
Is there rabies in my area?
Each state collects specific information about rabies, and is the best source for information on rabies in your area. In addition, the CDC publishes rabies surveillance data every year for the United States. The report, entitled Rabies Surveillance in the United States, contains information about the number of cases of rabies reported to CDC during the year, the animals reported rabid, maps showing where cases were reported for wild and domestic animals, and distribution maps showing outbreaks of rabies associated with specific animals.
Rabies is an infectious virus that attacks the nervous system, and eventually, the brain causing death. It is carried by wild animals such as bats, raccoons, foxes, and skunks and affects only mammals. Rabies is transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal but also can be spread by the saliva coming into contact with an open wound or broken skin.
Please make sure your pets are current on their rabies vaccination. It is the only way to protect them from this deadly virus and Texas State law requires it! If your pet is not vaccinated and comes into contact with a rabid animal, you must either euthanize your pet or have it quarantined for 10 days at your expense.
Rabies Prevention Tips
Vaccinate your pets against the rabies virus
Avoid wildlife – do not touch, pet, or feed any wildlife whether they appear to be sick or not
Do not approach any animal that is unfamiliar to you or your family
Secure trash in garbage cans with tight fitting lids
Feed your pets inside or in small amounts outside to avoid leaving food sitting outside that may attract wildlife
Keep your pets indoors when possible and on a leash when you take them off your property
Remember, there is no cure!