Rabies is a deadly disease that is usually transmitted through a bite from an infected animal. The disease is nearly always fatal. Dogs & cats are infected with rabies every year. In 2012, there were 31 confirmed cases of rabies reported in Iowa, including bats, skunks, cows and a cat.
351.38 of the Iowa Code states: “It shall be the duty of the owner of any dog, cat or other animal which has bitten or attacked a person or any person having knowledge of such bite or attack to report this act to a local health or law enforcement official. It shall be the duty of physicians and veterinarians to report to the local board of health the existence of any animal known or suspected to be suffering from rabies.”
“If an animal bites you,” said Diane Webber, Manager of the Cedar Rapids Animal Care & Control Center, “it’s important that you seek medical attention for the wound immediately. Tell the doctor about the circumstances of your injury, such as:
•What animal bit you?
•Was it a wild animal or a pet?
•If it was a pet, do you know to whom the animal belongs?
•Can you describe the animal's behavior before it bit you? Was the animal provoked?
•Were you able to capture or kill the animal after it bit you?
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 cannot 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.