Oakland County, Michigan – Recent reports have confirmed that a dog found in Detroit, which was later euthanized at a veterinary hospital in Farmington Hills, tested positive for rabies. The dog was initially discovered on the streets of Detroit by an Oakland County resident who brought it to his home, where it stayed for three days.
On October 25, concerned residents took the dog to Advanced Veterinary Medical Center in Farmington Hills after it began showing signs of rabies. A veterinarian determined that the most humane course of action was to euthanize the dog. The veterinary staff then transferred the dog’s remains to Oakland County Animal Control, who subsequently sent them to the MDHHS lab in Lansing for further testing. On November 1, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) confirmed that the dog had indeed tested positive for rabies.
Officials in Oakland County have mentioned that this is the first case of canine rabies reported in the county that the current animal control staff can recall. They have emphasized the importance of vaccinating pets as a preventive measure against the spread of this disease. Oakland County Animal Control Manager, Bob Gatt, stressed, “This rabies case is a reminder of how important it is for dog owners to vaccinate their pets to prevent the spread of the disease. This not only protects other pets but also children and adults.”
Although there is no indication that the dog had bitten anyone or come into contact with other individuals, the local resident who found the dog had been exposed to its saliva. It is crucial for anyone who has had contact with a wild or unknown animal to wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and seek immediate medical or veterinary attention, even if the animal has previously been vaccinated. According to Oakland County Medical Director Russell Faust, “The rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals and is spread by bites or scratches.”
It is important to note that, as of October 20, there have been 49 confirmed cases of rabies among people in Michigan, excluding the dog case found in Detroit.
To prevent the spread of rabies, regular visits to the veterinarian are highly recommended, and all cats, ferrets, and dogs should have up-to-date rabies vaccinations. It is especially essential to vaccinate indoor pets in case they have ever come into contact with a stray animal carrying the disease. Michigan law mandates that ferrets and dogs must be currently vaccinated against rabies.
If you come into contact with a wild animal, it is crucial to wash all bites or scratches immediately with soap and water. If you suspect that you or your pet may have come into contact with rabid wildlife, it is essential to contact your veterinarian or the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) at 800-292-3939 to determine the appropriate next steps.
Symptoms of rabies in humans may include fever, headache, general weakness, discomfort, and a stinging or itching sensation at the site of the bite. Over time, neurological symptoms may appear, such as difficulty sleeping, anxiety, hallucinations, delusions, agitation, partial paralysis, difficulty swallowing, and fear of water. Once symptoms manifest, the disease is almost always fatal.
Similarly, animals with rabies may display strange or unpredictable behavior. Early symptoms can range from fever, lethargy, vomiting, and loss of appetite to weakness, difficulty walking, paralysis, bruising, difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation, abnormal behavior, and aggression.
To prevent rabies in individuals who have been potentially exposed, they may undergo a series of injections known as rabies post-exposure prophylaxis. Those who have never received a rabies vaccine in the past should receive both the rabies antibody and the vaccine, while those previously vaccinated will only require the rabies vaccine. Unfortunately, once symptoms appear, the disease is almost always fatal, and treatment at that point is purely supportive.
For more information on rabies, please visit the Michigan State website or consult with relevant medical or veterinary sources.
Q: How can one protect themselves and their pets from rabies?
A: Regularly visit your veterinarian to keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all cats, ferrets, and dogs. Ensure that indoor pets are vaccinated in case of any contact with stray animals carrying the disease. Michigan law mandates current rabies vaccinations for ferrets and dogs. If you come into contact with a wild animal, immediately wash all bites or scratches with soap and water. Contact your veterinarian or MDARD if you suspect exposure to rabid wildlife.
Q: What are the symptoms of rabies in humans?
A: Early symptoms may include fever, headache, general weakness, discomfort, and a stinging or itching sensation at the bite site. Neurological symptoms can follow, including difficulty sleeping, anxiety, hallucinations, delusions, agitation, partial paralysis, difficulty swallowing, and fear of water. Once symptoms appear, the disease is almost always fatal.
Q: What are the symptoms of rabies in animals?
A: Animals with rabies may exhibit strange or unpredictable behavior. Early symptoms can include fever, lethargy, vomiting, and loss of appetite, progressing to weakness, difficulty walking, paralysis, bruising, difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation, abnormal behavior, and aggression.
Q: What is the treatment for rabies?
A: To prevent rabies in individuals potentially exposed to the disease, a series of injections called rabies post-exposure prophylaxis is administered. Those who have never received a rabies vaccine will require both the rabies antibody and the vaccine, while previously vaccinated individuals will only need the rabies vaccine. Unfortunately, once symptoms appear, treatment is only supportive, and the disease is almost always fatal.