A fourth rabies case in Kerr County for 2020 has been confirmed as of Wednesday, Oct. 7, according to Reagan Givens, director of Kerr County Animal Services.
The call about a potentially rabid bat came in to officers on Friday, Oct. 2, from a resident in the 1300 block of Harper Road in Kerrville.
“The resident there advised our officers that a live bat was found on the floor of a porch,” Givens said. Kerr County Animal Services collected the bat the same day and submitted it for rabies testing on Monday, Oct. 5. (The rabies testing center is closed on weekends.)
“We received news today that the lab results came back positive for rabies,” Givens said, adding that the homeowner believes two outdoor cats had contact with the rabid bat before it was collected.
“As a result, the property owner was notified of state law and the proper protocol due to be followed when there is a suspected exposure to rabies,” Givens said
According to Texas law, if a cat (or dog) is bitten or has made contact with an animal known to be rabid, then the pet should be humanely euthanized. Or, if the pet owner is unwilling to do that, which is often the case, then the protocol depends on if the pets have had their rabies vaccinations.
If the exposed family pets have been previously been vaccinated against rabies, they should be revaccinated immediately and restrained/confined for a period of 45 days. If the pets have not had their rabies shots, then they should get vaccinated immediately and placed in strict isolation for 90 days, with booster rabies shots given in the third and eighth weeks of isolation.
“This latest case is a good reminder to us all to make sure our dogs and cats are properly protected against this horrible, deadly viral disease,” Givens said.
In Kerr County, pet owners must have their dogs or cats vaccinated by the time they are four months old. Booster vaccines should then be received at least once every three years. Pet owners should keep proper certification that their pets are vaccinated, and those forms are furnished by the veterinarian who provides the shots.
“Rabies can spread to humans from family pets who have been bitten or otherwise infected by a rabid animal,” Givens said. Animals most likely to spread rabies in the United States are bats, coyotes, foxes, raccoons and skunks. They can transmit the disease to cats, dogs, as well as cows, horses, goats and ferrets, who, in turn, can infect their human owners.
So far this year, Kerr County has recorded 4 cases of rabies, including 1 raccoon in March, 1 fox in April, 1 fox in June and now the 1 bat in October.
Anyone who is bitten by any animal or exposed to an animal suspected of having rabies should seek medical care immediately. When spotting an animal either wild or domestic that is behaving abnormally, make a note of its location and immediately call the local rabies control authority, Kerr County Animal Services at 257-3100. Cases may also be reported to the Zoonosis Control office in San Antonio at (210) 949-2048.