POSTED: Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 6:44pm
UPDATED: Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 6:58pm
Tyler , TX (KETK) — Many wild animals carry diseases including rabies.
The Department of Public Health tells KETK Smith County does have rabid skunks and bats.
Environmental Health Director Brenda Elrod says it's very important for pet owners to vaccinate their dog or cat once they turn 4 months old, and once a year after that to prevent them from getting rabies.
If not, it can be fatal for the animal and a human if they bite.
"Rabies is a virus that can be in the salvia so if the skin is broken and the salvia gets into the bloodstream then the virus can be introduced into the victim's body," said Elrod.
By law, a dog who bites or breaks the skin of the victim must be quarantined for 10 days to check for rabies.
If the animal has rabies it would die within those 10 days.
The Department of Public Health says anyone bit by that animal must get a post exposure shot.
Elrod says there is no cure for rabies and if not treated those bit will die.
"If you see dogs, cats acting strange don't touch them. Don't play with them. If you see a bats and skunks out during the day don't handle them it's critical. it's out there it does exist."
John Moore with the Smith County Sheriffs office says there are a number of calls every year about dog bites.
Moore says do not touch wild animals and if you have a pet make sure you monitor it.
"We have to remember animals large or small can be dangerous. If you are not familiar with the animal then don't approach it. Don't try to pet it because you don't know their temperament," said Moore.