Rabies is an extremely dangerous virus disease of the brain and spinal cord. It is a disease that can be transmitted by an animal’s saliva or skunk spray and can be carried by any warm-blooded animal or human. If left untreated in the human body, it is always fatal. If you do not receive rabies injections, you will die. Ventura County is a rabies-endemic area. Most cases found in the area involved bats, raccoons and skunks. These animals should always be avoided, especially when you are with your pet. In order to avoid a rabies incident in your family or pet, we suggest the following guidelines:
- Never allow your pet to roam free where wildlife is or may be present. They do not have to be bitten by a rabies-infected animal in order to become infected.
- Vaccinate your pets and monitor revaccination dates. Dogs/cats receive their initial rabies vaccination at 16 weeks and good for one (1) year. The next series of rabies vaccinations thereafter should be good for three (3) years. Please contact your veterinarian for further information.
- Report all wild animal contact to Animal Safety Unit.
- Never handle wild animals. Sick or dying wildlife should be handled and treated by experts only. (See Living with Wildlife in Oxnard for more information.)
Never pet or touch bats, raccoons, or skunks, even those kept or shown by experts. (Most wildlife experts usually receive regular low-dose vaccinations called “titers” to help prevent a rabies infection. You do not!)
- Do not attempt to make pets out of wild animals. It is illegal and dangerous.