- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Mac Barksdale wrote:
>Dr. Mac: I do appreciate your knowledge, but on this I must step up and correct the information here. Bat do get sick from rabies. I quote from this article:
> You said:
> are in fact mammals not birds. However they ARE THE ONLY MAMMALS THAT
> CONTINUE TO LIVE WITH RABIES INFECTION. THEY ARE CARRIERS OF RABIES.
> They do not get "sick" or "confused" like other mammals. They
> continue to live even tho carrying the Rabies Virus.
http://cals.arizona.edu/pubs/insects/az1456.pdf "Rabies symptoms in bats vary greatly, from pronounced to unnoticeable. When rabies symptoms in bats are present, they often include the inability to fly or flying during daylight hours, lethargy, paralysis, and death. As a general rule, a bat found on the ground or in a weakened state is probably a sick bat, and therefore has a higher risk of being infected with rabies."
Members of this group:
One big reason children in the USA are exposed to rabies is from picking up a sick bat; one that was sick from rabies and could no longer fly. Bats and skunks both can carry and spread the disease without showing symptoms themselves for a long time. Both species account for a large number of rabies cases here in Texas.
> Most batsMexican Free-Tailed bats, residents of Texas, are often the carriers for rabies here. They are insect eaters, they have tiny teeth, but those tiny teeth are long enough to pierce human skin and allow the rabies virus a path in, and small enough that the human may not even be aware that they were bitten as they pick up and try to save a sick bat.
> are harmless but some on occasion will bite. There are "Vampire Bats"
> in Central and South America.
Vampire bats are a large reservoir of rabies in Central and South America. They feed exclusively on blood. Most zoos have vampire bats in a display with a feeding time posted so you can watch as the bats on display sip blood from flat bowls (not from from animals!)
It is interesting to me that laboratories can now distinguish the variant (type) of rabies virus that has infected an animal. A dog with rabies may have contracted bat, skunk, raccoon, or another variant. Rabies vaccine for domestic animals is highly effective. Vaccinating pets helps protect the human population from rabies, since most people deal with pets rather than wild animals.
Bats are fascinating, valuable creatures. Please, people, do not demonize bats or fear them; just use caution when dealing with them, as with any animal.
Folks, please keep your animals current on their rabies vaccinations, and avoid handling wild animals as much as possible. Rabies is almost always fatal once contracted. Don't take chances with it.
Rosalie Cooper-Chase, DVM
- I'm a big fan of bats - if they are healthy.
I would echo Rosalee's words; they very much show symptoms of rabies.
Every summer I get at least 3 sick bats in my barn (along with rabid
groundhogs that have to be shot). Typically the bats are lying on the
ground, lethargic and unable to fly. My neighbor's cat got a hold of
one and had to be given a number of shots and quarantined to keep her
from contracting rabies.
One of the sick bats I found floating in my water trough. I cleaned it
thoroughly immediately not knowing if it could affect the horses. They
are however, always up to date on their vaccines.
- WOW! May I ask where you live? I am in Indiana and in this area we rarely see rabies. Most folks are pretty good about vaccinating their pets. I don't know anyone that vaccinates their livestock in this area for rabies. My daughter says it is terrible in her area of North Carolina.
We have bats here but I have never seen one that was ill. Skunks are abundant as well but, again, I have never seen one showing symptoms.
I have lived her all but 8 of my 49 years and in that time we shot 1 raccoon because it was not acting right.
- Bats and skunks can carry the virus and transmit it without appearing ill.
Most raccoons that "aren't acting right" are really showing encephalitic signs of canine distemper virus. Dr. G.L. Hoeppner, DVM
- I'm in central Pennsylvania. For the last two years our state has lead
the nation in incidence of rabies. Racoons make up 50% of the infected
animals, followed by skunks, cats, deer, bats, groundhogs, bobcats,
dogs, cattle and horses. A horse owner is very remiss not to have their
As far as the bats go, they are also dying from white nose disease.
It's been a huge blow to the population, which is a shame because they
eat so many annoying bugs.
Another list has lately had a series of Rabies comments: Here is my last one:
As someone observed we tend to beat this topic to death at irregular intervals. However it is forever pertinent for us all.
However may I relate one more account to you please. Once someone brought in a small Boston Terrior type dog... he had a high fever... and the chief complaint was that he seemed hungry but would not eat. Now in retrospect that is a BIG clue right there. Dysphagia or inability to swallow is one of the very first symptoms of rabies. That is why the "foaming at the mouth" symptom appears saliva [full of rabies virus] comes into the mouth but can not be swallowed. Hence the "foaming" mouth. In addition this little fella had just returned from a vacation with his family and had not been off the leash and in the car for the last two weeks. [remember we have a 10 to 14 day quarantine period for rabies suspects as no animal lives more than 2 weeks after symptoms appear. Rabies is always fatal for all mammals except Bats... so if the case survives 2 weeks it is not rabies]
I listened to the chest of the little Boston and found no abnormality. Continuing the examination I looked in his mouth, pressing the tongue down with a finger.... Hmnnnnn there was some food IN his throat ! The light came on at that moment ! ! ! ! ! Yep, Rabies... he died within 3-4 days after isolation began. And Rabies confirmed by the Public Health Service.
Being young and foolish, I did not take the Rabies Prophylaxis Therapy.. but when that "light came on".... I immediately turned to my sink and scrubbed up my hands with brush and antiseptic soap as if for surgery......... I let the clients stand there mystified as to why I took so long to wash my hands. Then I carefully explained to the client...seems to me the entire family was present.... and sent them directly to the Physician's office for his advice.
Then I carefully carried the little fella back to an isolation cage and scrubbed my hands again.
The moral of this story is that the rules for Rabies are that there ARE NO rules for Rabies. Any type of change in behavior should be an alert signal for us all.
And WOW is a horse or mule with Furious Rabies an intimidating and frightening sight! !
And that incident led me to a lifetime of cautioning Veterinary Hospital Staff: "One day a client will put a cute little dog or big dog... on our exam table... and he will have RABIES. So be careful and keep this in mind always."
Think of the times I have let a friendly patient lick my face in 44 years of practice ! ! I guess physicians do not have to endure that risk ? ? [of having their faces licked by a patient!]
Dr Mac Barksdale
10151 University Bvld Ste 118
Orlando, Florida 32817-1904 USSA
Cell 407 342 0938 mac.barksdale@...