County launches campaign to fight transmission of rabies
Transmission of rabies from wildlife continues to be a risk across the United States and in Sonoma County. The County has launched a campaign to promote vaccination of cats and dogs and educate the public on rabies issues. Rabies is present in wildlife, and can be transmitted from these animals to domestic animals or humans. Cats are at just as high a risk as dogs and must be vaccinated against rabies. Since 2010 Sonoma County has had 15 positive animals: 13 bats, one fox, and one domestic cat, which is consistent with prior years and rates in other California counties.
While rare, rabies is a very serious disease, and is almost always fatal to humans and domestic animals if not prevented before symptoms appear. If you are bitten or scratched by an unfamiliar animal – especially a bat – or by an animal suspected of having rabies, immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and then seek medical attention.
Low-cost rabies vaccinations are available throughout Sonoma County at clinics provided by VIP PetCare. Visit happypet.com/mobile to find a clinic near you. This fall, Sonoma County Animal Care and Control will begin providing rabies vaccinations to all pets seen through its Love me, Fix Me mobile spay/neuter clinic. In addition, the Department of Health Services, is providing resources for the public about rabies prevention. Information about rabies symptoms, transmission, treatment, and prevention can be found at www.sonoma-county.org/health/topics/rabies.asp.
To make an appointment with the Love Me, Fix Me mobile spay/neuter clinic (rabies vaccination vouchers provided until fall 2013, then vaccinations will be administered as part of the clinic), call 800-427-7973.