A number of recently tested dead bats has L.A. County Health personnel concerned that the rodents may be spreading the disease to pets.
The flying rodents have been turning up more than usual in Los Angeles County and Ventura County this year, posing a threat to both humans and pets alike, the L.A. Times reports, citing information provided by the county health department.
Twelve bats, all with rabies, have been discovered in the Los Angeles area so far. The typical number found each year, reports the L.A. Times, is somewhere between eight and 10.
Ventura County is boasting the capture of about a dozen bats as well, with 10 testing positive for rabies, according to a report posted on KTLA.com.
L.A. County officials reportedly found a bat in an airplane hangar in Palmdale, a dead bat on a front porch in Bellflower and even a bat on the ground at a high school in Cerritos, upping their concerns that the winged hoodlums could be spreading rabies to household pets.
Bats on land look very similar to rodents, so Fido and Kitty are often drawn to the gnaw-friendly, winged critters, according to authorities.
One bite from a rabid bat could result in death, officials warn, though bats can live with the disease for a longer period of time.
“There is no reason people shouldn’t get their dogs and cats vaccinated,” Dr. Karen Ehnert, acting director for the Veterinary Public Health and Rabies Control Progam of L.A. County, told the L.A. Times.
The county has set up low-cost vaccinations at pop-up clinics for just that purpose.
If a vaccinated pet gets a bat bite, it will still need to be quarantined for a month following the incident just to be sure that other animals don’t catch the disease.
Humans should wash bite wounds thoroughly and seek medical attention immediately.
Source: NY Daily News