About Rats and Rabies

Rats are some of the most common pest animals in Florida and worldwide. They’re filthy, and if you have pets, there’s always a chance your animal could encounter a rat. Despite their small size, rats have very sharp teeth, strong jaws, and claws that can scratch deep. What should you do if a rat bites your pet? What happens if a rat bites you? It’s a wild animal, so is there a chance the rat has rabies? The first thing we’ll tell you is not to panic.

What to Do if a Rat Bites Your Pet

The first thing you want to do is explain what happened to a veterinarian. Chances are your vet won’t recommend anything special, but they may want to monitor your pet. This isn’t because the rat may have rabies but because their bites are prone to infection.

Rats and Rabies, Can They Cause It?

Generally speaking, rats and mice are too small to survive very long with rabies. While they can certainly carry the virus that causes the rabies disease, wild rabid rats haven’t been found. Over 50,000 people are bitten by rats each year, but none are given rabies shots. Their small size makes it hard to survive if a rabid animal attacks them. However, if a groundhog happens to bite, you may want to get a rabies shot.

What Are the Signs of Rabies?

There are generally two ways rabies manifests in animals: Rage or stupor. Rabid animals may snarl or attack anything that gets near. On the other hand, they may appear tame, not even responding to being pet or touched. Of the two, the latter is especially dangerous – As the animal may suddenly feel threatened and bite out of nowhere. Rabid bats may be seen on the ground, unable to fly. No matter how it manifests, they tend to drool and make strange noises due to the paralysis of the throat muscles. They also walk unevenly, limping and hobbling along.

In humans, the symptoms may resemble the flu at first, with an itchy bite site. From here, the disease progresses to cerebral dysfunction and death. Only 14 people have survived rabies since 2016, while 59,000 people have died of the disease worldwide. Get treatment immediately if any wild animal has bitten you. Rats, however, don’t spread rabies.

Rats Still Spread Disease

While rabies isn’t a concern with rats, they can still harm you and your animals. While most of the harm comes from contact with the waste of rats – Urine and feces – Their bites are still dangerous. Rat droppings and urine can carry hantavirus and other illnesses. In addition, rat bites can sometimes transmit a bacterial infection called rat-bite fever, killing a tenth of all victims.

The risk of illness from a bite is real, as their saliva can cause other infections. Even if rabies isn’t a concern, you should still at least report a rat bite to your doctor immediately. Thoroughly clean the wound with soap and water, and apply antibiotics. If you’ve found rats or rat droppings on your property, don’t hesitate to call. A small problem can become a major issue very quickly. You can learn more about rats and pest control at the Consolidated Pest Control website.

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