Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The vast majority of rabies cases reported each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes. Domestic animals account for less than 10% of the reported rabies cases, with cats, cattle and dogs most often reported rabid. It is required in KY to have all dogs, cats, and ferrets vaccinated against rabies.
Some general signs of rabies in animals are as follows:
- Changes in an animal's behavior
- General sickness
- Problems swallowing
- Increased drooling
If you have been bitten, scratched or exposed to an animal's saliva:
1. Wash the wound right away with soap and water for at least 10 minutes.
2. Call your doctor or go to a hospital emergency room. Be sure to fill out an Animal Bite Report Form and fax to the Mercer County Health Department at (859) 734-0568
3. Provide a description of the animal and if possible, confine the animal so it can be quarantined or tested.
Quarantine or test
- All dogs, cats and ferrets reported to have bitten any person are quarantined by the local health department for ten (10) days for observation. This is done at eithe the animal owner's home or a local animal clinic.
- Animals which stay well during the ten-day period are released after vaccination records are obtained. Those animals which become sick are sacrificed and tested.
- All non-domesticated or "wild animals" must immediately be euthanized and tested.