Rabid bat found in Lakeland

LAKELAND, Fla. -- A resident last weekend found his dogs nipping at a bat, which has tested positive for rabies and become the first case in the county this year.

A resident of Carla Circle found his dogs nipping at a bat in the yard on Saturday, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, and they contacted the Animal Control Section, which had the bat tested. The rabies confirmation was returned Tuesday.

Both dogs are up to date on vaccines and have been placed on home quarantine for 10 days.

"This is an important reminder to make sure your pets are up-to-date on their vaccines," said Sheriff Grady Judd.

Residents are reminded that bats and raccoons are among the mammals considered to be high-risk species or "rabies vector species," according to the sheriff's office. Do not approach an animal that is acting in an unusual or suspicious manner.

If you think you or your pet has been exposed to rabies, call Animal Control at 863-577-1762.

Rabies, which lives in the saliva and brain tissue of mammals, can be deadly.  Click here for more info on rabies

Rabies facts:

-- It lives in the saliva and brain tissue of infected mammals. The disease is fatal once it reaches the brain.

-- Carried by mammals. That means people, dogs, cats are vulnerable. Most cases involve bats.

-- Exposure is through bites, scratches, and infected saliva entering a wound.

What are the signs of rabies?

DUMB RABIES: Animals are shy and may hide or may be unusually friendly. They may also become lethargic and confused.  This form is often seen in wildlife.

FURIOUS RABIES: Animals are very agitated but may also act confused or calm. May attack when approached. They lose fear of enemies.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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