Rabies is a deadly disease - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Rabies is a deadly disease

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL)--  Officials with the Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control Center remind you to see medical attention immediately if you have been bitten by an animal, as it could have rabies.

Rabies is a deadly disease that is usually transmitted through a bite from an infected animal. Once a person begins to show signs and symptoms of the disease, it is nearly always fatal. Dogs and cats are infected with rabies each year; last year along there were 35 confirmed cases of rabies in Iowa. Three of those were cats and 2 were dogs. Animals most likely to transmit rabies include bats, coyotes, foxes, raccoons and skunks.

Here are ways to reduce the risk of coming in contact with rabid animals:

· Vaccinate your pets. Cats, dogs and ferrets can be vaccinated against rabies. All pets must be vaccinated for rabies per Cedar Rapids municipal code 23.02 and 23.03.

· If your pet is bitten by another animal, leave the wound alone and take the pet to a veterinarian immediately.

· Keep your pets confined. Keep your pets inside and supervise them when outside. This will help keep your pets from coming in contact with wild animals.

· Protect small pets from predators. Keep rabbits and other small pets, such as guinea pigs, inside or in protected cages so that they are safe from wild animals. These small pets can't be vaccinated against rabies.

· Report stray animals to local authorities. Call Cedar Rapids Animal Care & Control at 286-5993 to report stray dogs and cats.

· Don't approach wild animals. Wild animals with rabies may seem unafraid of people. It's not normal for a wild animal to be friendly with people, so stay away of any animal that seems unafraid.

· Keep bats out of your home. Seal any cracks and gaps where bats can enter your home. If you know you have bats in your home, work with a local expert to find ways to keep bats out. If you find a bat in your home, do not touch it and call Cedar Rapids Animal Care & Control immediately.

· To prevent additional strays, spay or neuter your pets.

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