According to the Utah Department of Health website, 350 unvaccinated dogs and cats were euthanized in 2006 so that they could be tested for rabies.
The Utah Department of Health and Agriculture and Food are urging all pet owners to have their dogs and cats vaccinated for rabies immediately so that pet owners do not have to go through the heartache of euthanizing their animal. Utah law requires that all domestic dogs, cats and ferrets must be vaccinated. The problem with rabies is that when an animal comes in contact with another animal that has rabies, the disease is not noticed sometimes for up to six months. This means that the pets are either euthanized or kept in an approved facility, which in the long run can cost thousands of dollars.
In Utah country, bats are the number one carrier of the rabies virus, next comes raccoons, skunks and then foxes which are up there with the high risk factor. Rabies cause acute encephalitis, which is basically inflammation or swelling of the brain that turns an animal crazy. Animals who are bitten by an infected animal tend to become very aggressive, become generally ill, have trouble swallowing, have an increased amount of drool (foamy), and usually snipping at anything and everything once they are excited. Be cautious however, sometimes animals who are infected can look completely normal.
Rabies is does not only affect animals, at least 55,000 people, mainly children under the age of 15 years-old, die from rabies each year. Even though most of those death occur in other countries who do not have the capabilities as the United States to have their animals vaccinated, the number is staggering. Even with available vaccinations in the United States, almost 40,000 people are exposed to rabies each year and must receive numerous vaccinations to prevent the disease from becoming worse.
You might not think you are at risk for contracting rabies, but you are, everyone is. There are five ways to help prevent rabies from affecting you. First, always take your pets to the veterinarian on a regular basis, especially if you have dogs, cats and ferrets. Next, never touch or try and feed a wild animal regardless of how cute you think it is. If you see an animal lost, sick or even hurt, do not go up to the animal, call your local Humane Society and tell them the location of the animal. Never approach anyone’s animal that you do not know. And last but not least, if you are bitten or scratched by an animal, do not take the chance and clean the wound yourself, go to the emergency room or your doctor and have them check out the situation just in-case the animal is rabid. These prevention methods do work if you follow them, rabies is not something to to around with, it is a serious disease and can cause death.
To learn more about rabies and how you can prevent it, please visit http://health.utah.gov/epi/diseases/rabies/index.html.
SOURCE : Hundreds of Utah Pets Killed Each Year to Test for Rabies