‘Take every precaution’: advice from Abilene animal officials after rabid bat incident

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – After a bat with rabies was discovered in Abilene, a local veterinarian provided timely notification to pet owners.

Dr. Allen Bolt of the Animal Health and Medical Center explained that with a warm spring season, more rabies-carrying wild animals could be expected.

“If we keep our pets vaccinated, you won’t get the spread that we would get if we didn’t vaccinate them,” Dr. Bolt advised.

Over a period of time, Dr Bolt said the virus would accumulate in the population and, like any other disease, it would spread.

“Once we’ve isolated rabies so early in the year, you better be careful,” Dr Bolt warned. “Because we’re probably going to have a lot more this summer.”

Typically, when a nocturnal animal, such as a bat, is out during the day, authorities say you should suppose he is enraged.

“It creates problems in their brains so they don’t act like they normally do,” Dr Bolt said. “So that means they have an infection of some type.”

This was the case of the bat found on April 13 in the Mesquite Forest area, off Queen Ann’s Lace in the Wylie region. After confirmation of a positive test, residents of the neighborhood and surrounding areas were notified.

“The odds of a bat in your home being rabid are very small, but you can’t be too careful,” advised Abilene Animals Services Acting Director Karen Holland.

According to Holland, locals were notified that a dog had been found playing with the rabid bat.

“We got the call and within 15 minutes we made all the calls we needed to make,” Holland said.

Luckily, Holland ensured the dog was up to date on his vaccines.

“Take every precaution, because rabies can be spread through saliva, a scratch or a bite,” Holland explained. “For bats, they can scratch you without you even knowing they’re scratching you, because they’re so small.”

Dr. Bolt and Holland advise the public that the rabies vaccine must be given to pets annually as required by the state.