Rabid bat problems up in Oregon

Rabid bat problems up in Oregon

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by Keely Chalmers, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on June 24, 2010 at 6:07 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 25 at 2:48 PM

For Cal Nakao, the morning of May 28 started out like pretty much ever other day.  He and his 15 week old puppy Molly walked the orchards behind their home. 

But instead of going after the usual ground squirrel or gopher, Molly went after something else.  It was something moving at the base of a tree.  When Nakao moved closer, he saw that it was a struggling brown bat.  Concerned that it looked sick, Nakao had it tested. 

"Twenty-four hours later the vet called and said it was positive," explained Nakao.  Since the puppy had been exposed, the vet gave the Nakao's two choices. 

"He said either we euthanize it or put it in quarantine for six months," said Nakao. 

Knowing that quarantine meant no human contact, the Nakaos felt euthanasia was the most humane choice.  But it was not an easy one. 

"She was a really cute puppy... and we lost without her," said Nakao’s wife Kay.

According to Oregon Public Health, already this year rabies has been found in bats, foxes, even a goat.  Veterinarians say while it's normal to find the virus in bats, it's unusual to find it in foxes or goats. 

"Bats are the number one concern in regards to rabies... About 10 percent of the bats we test are positive for rabies every year in Oregon," said Emilio DeBess, State Public Health Veterinarian.

DeBess encourages pet owners, no matter where they live, to get their dogs vaccinated.

DeBess says animals over three months old can get the rabies vaccination.

It's something the Nakaos wish they had done, knowing, now it could have saved Molly.  "It’s kind of tough... she was a special little dog," said Kay.

 

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