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Rabies vaccine protects dogs; owner not so lucky

By Steve Huffman
shuffman@salisburypost.com
KANNAPOLIS ó Jeanna Brooks said the situation involving her and her dogs is proof that all canines should be vaccinated against rabies.
Last Friday, Brooks’ five dogs were in the backyard of her house at 1014 N. Ridge Ave. in Kannapolis. Three of the dogs came inside and Brooks went to the door to check on the remaining animals ó a mutt and a Boston terrier.
Brooks found the dogs playing with what she thought was a bird. Turns out, it was a bat.
Brooks contacted Rowan County Animal Control, and officers submitted the creature for rabies testing. The tests returned positive Monday.
The good news is all of Brooks’ dogs were current on their rabies vaccinations. The animals will have to receive booster shots, but none will have to be euthanized because of their exposure to the rabid bat.
Brooks said her dogs are indoor animals and venture out only as far as the backyard.
“I always took for granted that my dogs won’t go anywhere where they can be exposed to rabies,” Brooks said. “All of a sudden, we’ve got a bat back there.”
She said her vet had inoculated all her dogs just recently. Brooks owns two German shepherds, two Boston terriers and the mutt.
She said her experience is living proof that any dog can be exposed to a rabid animal. Brooks said it’s also living proof that something as simple as a rabies shot can easily pay for itself countless times over.
“I’m just happy mine had their shots,” Brooks said of her beloved dogs. “They’re like members of the family.”
Brooks wasn’t quite so fortunate. Because she came in contact with the rabid bat with her bare hands, she had to go to the hospital emergency room and is having to undergo post-exposure rabies shots.
Those shots included five she received Monday and four more she’ll have to receive in coming weeks.
Brooks said doctors told her the shots aren’t as painful as they were years ago when they all had to be administered in the stomach. But she said they’re still not pleasant.
“They hurt,” Brooks said.

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