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Today ends awareness and prevention week

Chipmunks, squirrels and bunnies are all cute and cuddly right? Well some research points out that although creatures of this type can be quite loving and sweet at times but they should not be approached in the wild.

June 9-14 was designated by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) as Rabies Awareness and Dog Bite Prevention Week in the state of Alabama. During this week the health department is working to remind everyone that domestic dogs and cats have to receive and annual rabies shot by law to help in preventing bites.

“All breeds bite. They can be provoked or feel threatened. So that is one reason that it is so important for people to remember to get their pets a rabies shot each and every year,” Dee Jones, D.V.M. with ADPH said.

“A rabies shot can also help in protecting your pets from becoming infected and losing their lives.”

Rabies is a serious disease that can affect all warm-blooded mammals. According to ADPH there are at least 800,000 Americans who seek medical attention for dog bites each year. Almost half of the 800,000 bitten are children. Out of those bitten around 386,000 are injured and require emergency medical treatment. At least a dozen of these people die due to their injuries.

Jones stressed that it is important to stay away from all strange animals. Dogs, cats and wounded animals have the tendency to find shelter close to peoples houses. This can create a bad situation if the person living in the residence is fond of saving animals. Taking an animal in or trying to nurse a sick animal can lead to someone being attacked or infected with a number of diseases including rabies.

“A good rule of thumb is, if you can pet a wild animal, don’t.” Jones said.

Jones added that if you are bitten or scratched by an unfamiliar animal make sure to wash the area with soapy water for at least 10 minutes and then seek medical attention. To help with any pet that is bitten or scratched immediately contain the pet and contact your veterinarian.