Listen to Rabies Interview with Angie

Rabies is a preventable viral disease most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system of mammals, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes, although any mammal can get rabies.


There are several things you can do to protect your pet from rabies:

  1. Visit your veterinarian with your pet on a regular basis and keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all cats, ferrets, and dogs.
  2. Maintain control of your pets by keeping cats and ferrets indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision.
  3. Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or vaccinated regularly.
  4. Call animal control to remove all stray animals from your neighborhood since these animals may be unvaccinated or ill.

To prevent rabies in people:

  1. Leave all wildlife alone.
  2. Know the risk: contact with infected bats is the leading cause of rabies deaths in people in the U.S., followed by exposure to rabid dogs while traveling internationally.
  3. Wash animal bites or scratches immediately with soap and water.
  4. If you are bitten, scratched, or unsure, talk to a healthcare provider about whether you need postexposure prophylaxis. Rabies in people is 100% preventable through prompt appropriate medical care.
  5. Vaccinate your pets to protect them and your family.