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Tag Archive | "MDARD"

Rabies still a concern in Michigan


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The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) State Veterinarian Dr. James Averill urges Michiganders to adopt practices that help protect their families, pets, and livestock from rabies, one of the deadliest diseases known to man. According to the World Health Organization, rabies is responsible for the deaths of 55,000 people worldwide.
All mammals are susceptible to rabies.  Rabies virus is usually transmitted via the bite of an infected animal. The virus can also be transmitted in the saliva of an infected animal into an open wound or onto mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose, or mouth.

“Michigan has rabies laws and programs that help protect citizens. Animal bites are reportable, and the State of Michigan requires dogs and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies,” said Averill.
Protect dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, and select livestock by keeping them vaccinated against rabies. If a person suspects their pet or livestock may have had contact with a potentially rabid animal, they should immediately contact their local animal control agency and veterinarian.
“You cannot always know if an animal has rabies, but if your pet or livestock behave aggressively and this is not normal behavior, you should consider rabies as a possible cause, and take appropriate precautions,” Averill said. “If a person is bitten by an animal, they should immediately wash the wound, seek medical attention, and report the bite to the local health department.”

Signs of rabies in animals can include lethargy, depression, aggression, seizures, a change in behavior, difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation, difficulty walking, and eventual death. Because many illnesses can cause these signs, without the laboratory tests rabies cannot be diagnosed.  It is not possible to test live animals for rabies. In order to determine if an animal has the disease, a necropsy must be done and the brain tissue must be examined for the presence of characteristic lesions.
To date, for 2013, there have been 39 cases of rabid Michigan bats in the various counties. See map for statistics.
For more information, please visit: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/emergingdiseases/Rabies_Map_2013_407912_7.pdf 

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Keeping pets safe this summer


With summer temperatures already breaking well-over 80 degrees, the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development’s (MDARD) Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Nancy Frank offers a few tips to keep your furry, four-legged family members healthy and happy this summer.  “Our cats, dogs and other companion animals can be just as uncomfortable in the heat and humidity as we are and can quickly become dangerously overheated,” said Frank. “Pets can suffer from heat stroke, dehydration, and even sunburn. So it’s critical you use sound, common sense practices like not leaving your pet in a car. Even if you park it in the shade and have the windows partially open, it only takes a few minutes for temperatures inside the car to reach deadly levels.” While all dogs and cats are at risk, older or very young pets, overweight pets, those with heavy coats, and short-nosed dogs may need extra care. Owners need to limit their exercise to early morning and evening on hot and humid days as asphalt becomes very hot, keep the water bowl refreshed, and be sure a cool environment is always nearby. If your pet is panting excessively or has difficulty breathing, drools excessively or un-characteristically, has difficulty walking, appears weak or in a stupor, immediately place your pet in the shade or air conditioning and apply cool—not cold—water to reduce the animal’s core body temperature. Get help from a licensed veterinarian as soon as possible.  The following are some other simple summer pet safety tips: *Beware of toxic agents such as plant food, insecticides, fertilizer, coolants, citronella candles, oil products, and insect coils that may be around the home and yard. *The heat, loud noise, and confusion of crowded summer events can stress pets and isn’t an enjoyable experience for them. Even unlit fireworks can be an issue as many contain toxic compounds like potassium nitrate, copper, chlorates, and arsenic. *Make sure your pet is always wearing a collar or identification such as a tag or microchip. *Maintain recommended heartworm medication since the potentially deadly heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes.

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