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This website is maintained by the Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., a Dallas, Texas law firm representing people across Texas for dog bite injury cases. We have attempted to provide useful information for those harmed by animal attacks.

Posts Tagged ‘Rabies’

Residents in Killeen, Texas, are Warned about the Rabies Virus Found in Skunks – Part 5

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Patient with rabies, 1959

Patient with rabies, 1959 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Any warm-blooded mammal can get rabies, which includes humans. The way people are infected with rabies is through exposure to the saliva of a rabid animal, whether through a bite, a scratch, or if the saliva gets into a person’s eyes, nose, or mouth.

There have been cases of people being exposed to rabies without knowing it. Bats, for example, have small teeth that are sharp and do not always leave a visible puncture wound; and there may not be any pain at the site of the bite. These are other scenarios in which a person may unknowingly be exposed to rabies:

  • If the person’s bare skin comes into contact with the bat’s head or other body part while not looking at the bat.
  • A bat is discovered in a room with a person who is asleep.
  • A bad is discovered in the room of a child who was unattended.
  • Bats have been found near children who were playing outside without supervision.
  • Anytime a bat is found indoors in the above situations, it should be captured and tested for rabies because there is a reasonable probability of exposure.

The incubation period between when a person is exposed to rabies and when symptoms appear is normally between two and eight weeks, though incubation periods of a year and more have been reported. The following are among the symptoms of rabies in humans:

  • Early on, symptoms include headache, fever, irritability, and sometimes pain or itching at the site of exposure.
  • Within a few days, the rabies disease progresses to convulsions, spasms of the throat muscles, paralysis, delirium, and death.

For more information, see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of this ongoing series, which will include information about treatment for rabies.

–Guest Contributor

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Dog Bite Attorney: Residents in Killeen, Texas, are Warned about the Rabies Virus Found in Skunks – Part 3

Friday, June 6th, 2014

English: A spotted dog from Kalimpong, West Be...

English: A spotted dog from Kalimpong, West Bengal, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Signs and Symptoms of Rabies in Dogs

Some of the initial signs that a dog has contracted rabies include:

  • Extreme changes in behavior, such as timidity and restlessness, which are sometimes compounded by aggressiveness.
  • Dogs that are normally friendly may become irritable.
  • High-energy, excitable dogs may become docile.
  • Any form of stimulus could cause an infected dog to snap or bite.
  • The dog may chew, bite, and constantly lick the site where the bite occurred.
  • Possibly a fever.

As the rabies virus progresses in a dog, he or she may:

  • Become hypersensitive to sound, light, and touch.
  • Hide in dark places.
  • Eat unusual things.
  • Develop paralysis of the throat, sometimes followed by paralysis of jaw muscles.
  • Foam at the mouth.
  • Stagger and exhibit incoordination and disorientation.
  • Develop paralysis of the hind legs.
  • Become weak.
  • Have seizures.
  • Experience loss of appetite.
  • Die.

The animals most at risk for a rabies virus infection are unvaccinated dogs who roam freely without supervision. These dogs are exposed to animals in the wild and have an increased chance of getting into a fight with infected stray cats or dogs.

For more information, see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this ongoing series, which will include signs and symptoms of rabies in humans.

–Guest Contributor




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Residents in Killeen, Texas, are Warned about the Rabies Virus Found in Skunks – Part 2

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Rabies virus

Rabies virus (Photo credit: Sanofi Pasteur)

Because a rabies-infected skunk was found in Killeen and three dogs were exposed to the virus, residents of the city have been asked to take these safety precautions:

  • Keep all pets’ rabies vaccinations current.
  • When children and pets are outside, be sure they are supervised by an adult, even in fenced areas.
  • Do not approach a wild animal, and do not touch one.
  • Do not leave out water or food that might attract wild animals.
  • Watch your pets for any signs of rabies symptoms.
  • If you see a sick or injured animal or any type of abnormal animal activity, report it to the Killeen Animal Control Unit by calling 254-526-4455 during normal business hours; after hours call 254-501-8800.

Rabies is a deadly virus that results in death among humans almost 100% of the time, if post-exposure vaccinations are not administered prior to signs of rabies being manifested in the person exposed. The virus is passed on to animals or humans when they are exposed to bodily fluids such as the blood or saliva of the infected animal.

In Bell, McLennan, and Coryell counties this year so far there have been a total of 22 cases of animals being confirmed to have rabies.

See Part 1 and this continuing series for more information, including signs and symptoms of rabies in dogs and humans.

–Guest Contributor

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Residents in Killeen, Texas, are Warned about the Rabies Virus Found in Skunks

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Pet skunk in kitchen

Pet skunk in kitchen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Tuesday of this week, the Killeen Animal Control Unit was notified by the Texas Department of State Health Services that a skunk found in the area tested positive for the rabies virus. The skunk was found on Greyhouse Drive on Saturday, in the 4500 block. Officers with Killeen Animal Control responded to a call about a skunk being chased from a residential yard by a dog. A bit later another call reported that the skunk was dead in another backyard in the neighborhood. The skunk was sent to be tested for rabies at the Texas Department of State Health Service, Austin Laboratory.

Once the Texas Department of State Health Services learned that the skunk was rabid, it was decided that handouts would be distributed in the area where the skunk was found. Nearby residents were made aware of the incident and the associated hazards and were advised on safety procedures.

Part of the incident involved three dogs which had contact with the rabid skunk, and all three of the animals have been put down.

See this continuing series for more information about rabies and how to avoid exposure to the deadly disease.

–Guest Contributor

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A Man is Southeast Houston, Texas, is Severely Injured in an Attack by Pit Bulls – Part 4

Monday, May 12th, 2014

English: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Steve Ha...

English: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Steve Hanks, a military working dog handler with the 55th Security Forces Squadron, hoists Ada up in the air after she clamped down on a bite sleeve as part of a working dog demonstration Oct. 20, 2010, at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. The demonstration was part of a base tour for high school and college students ready to enlist in the Air Force. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every year about 880,000 victims of dog bites go to emergency rooms for medical treatment. Having a dog in the home increases the risk of being bitten. The age group most likely to be bitten, as compared to all other age groups, is children between 5 and 9 years of age.

Medical care may not always be necessary following a dog bite, although it can sometimes be very difficult to determine what sort of damage has occurred to structures underlying the skin. An exception is that infants and children should always be evaluated following a dog bite.

If there has been no puncture wound and the abrasion is minimal, it may be sufficient to watch for indications that the wound has become infected. Before seeking medical care for a minor bite, watch for pain, warmth, swelling, redness, and drainage of fluid or pus.

When seeking medical attention, it is important to determine two things: the victim’s tetanus status and the dog’s rabies immunization status. If rabies therapy is needed, it is essential that it begin as soon as possible, since a person will almost certainly die if treatment is not issued before actual signs of having contracted the rabies virus are evident. In cases where an unknown dog has attacked and the dog is not available for testing, rabies treatment is a must.

Health care professionals will typically do an exam to determine whether tendons, muscles, bones, or nerves have been damaged by the dog bite.

Besides cleansing the wound, sutures may be necessary, though sutures increase the possibility of infection. On parts of the body where the skin is less visible, wounds are usually allowed to heal before suturing for aesthetic reasons.

When facial wounds and other serious injuries are involved, dog bite injuries may be treated in an operating room, since prolonged anesthesia may be needed for treatment.

See Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this four-part series for information about what to do if a dog attacks.

–Guest Contributor



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Rabies in Killeen Texas: A Dog is Scratched by a Skunk Infected with the Rabies Virus in Killeen, Texas

Friday, April 11th, 2014


Rabies (Photo credit: michaelhenley)

According to police, in a Killeen, Texas, neighborhood, a dog was scratched by a skunk that was later trapped and tested positive for rabies. The incident occurred on Tuesday evening. Handouts have been distributed by Animal Control officers in the Lonesome Dove area of Killeen. The notices inform residents that three skunks have had confirmed cases of the rabies virus within Bell County since January 2014. The potential dangers of rabies were also advertised.

The following information and this continuing series about rabies are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Anyone who handles or is bitten by an animal infected with rabies can get the disease; without proper vaccinations, death follows about 100% of the time.

The early symptoms of rabies in a human being include headaches, weakness, and a fever. As symptoms worsen, the person can experience sleeplessness, confusion, anxiety, excitation, agitation, hallucinations, excessive salivating, fear of water, difficulty swallowing, and a tingling sensation where the bite occurred. Once there is an onset of symptoms, death typically occurs within a few days.

The leading way to protect your pets, your family members, and yourself from rabies is to stay away from wild animals and to get pets vaccinated against the rabies virus annually.

–Guest Contributor

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Dog Bite Lawyer: What are the Dog Ordinances in McAllen, Texas?

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

My Dog Abby, taken by me in my back yard.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Animal control ordinances for McAllen, Texas, are posted on the website for the City of McAllen.  Those that apply to dogs follow:

  • If a pet has been bitten or scratched by a wild animal suspected of having rabies, the animal control department must be contacted.  Any animal suspected of possibly contracting rabies must be confined for at least 10 days from the day of the attack.  If an animal is killed or is dying of rabies or is suspected to be suffering from rabies, the animal will be held and the health director will prescribe the disposition of the body.
  • It is against the law for dogs to run loose or “at large” within McAllen’s city limits.  If a dog is not on the owner’s property and is also not on a leash, it will be picked up by animal control and impounded.  Dogs running at large are given to the care of the humane society.
  • It is unlawful for dogs to loudly, habitually, and frequently howl or bark, causing annoyance and disturbing the peace and quiet. Complaints about these types of violations should be filed with the municipal court.

See this continuing series for more information about dog ordinances in McAllen, Texas.

–Guest Contributor

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A Rabid Skunk is Found in Copperas Cove, Texas

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

None - This image is in the public domain and ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On October 16 a rabies-infected skunk was found by Copperas Cove, Texas, Animal Control officials near a home on West Washington Street.  Results from the Texas Department of Health in Austin came in last week after officials learned that the skunk tested positive for rabies.  Anyone who knows of an animal that could have been exposed to the skunk or if anyone believes their own pet was exposed is asked to call the Copperas Cove Police Department or Animal Control.

Rabies is a deadly zoonotic disease; “zoonotic” means that it is a disease that people can get from animals.  Without a proper rabies treatment, the disease results in death practically 100% of the time.  To get a precise diagnosis on whether or not an animal is infected, the animal’s brain must be inspected.

When cats and dogs contract rabies, it is usually because of contact with an infected wild animal.  Exposure occurs as a result of being bitten by a rabid animal or through contact with the saliva of a rabid creature, whether through an existing wound or through the mouth or eyes.  The animals most frequently infected with rabies are skunks, bats, raccoons, coyotes, and foxes.

Vaccinating pets against the rabies virus is essential because it is a public health matter and could be a matter of life and death.

–Guest Contributor



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World Rabies Day Raises Awareness About a Fatal but 100% Preventable Virus

Monday, September 30th, 2013

World Rabies Day Logo

World Rabies Day Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Saturday was World Rabies Day, which focused on raising awareness about the rabies virus that can be transmitted to humans from animals and which kills about 60,000 people annually.  Rabies is a fatal virus, but it is preventable 100% of the time.  World Rabies Day, which was initiated in 2007, encompasses many global events designed to raise awareness and promote safety.  The activities vary and include such efforts as free rabies vaccination clinics, distribution of free information about the disease, and “fun runs.”

In the U.S., usually one or two people die from rabies annually.  The disease is typically found in wildlife, chiefly bats, raccoons, foxes, and skunks.  For most of the year, livestock that roam on pastures are at risk for potential exposure to rabies.  Rabies vaccines are approved and available for cows, horses, and sheep.  There are no vaccinations approved for goats, however.

Dog bites are the most common path of infection for rabies in humans.  The following are basic safety steps that families in Texas can take to minimize the risk of exposure to rabies:

  • Vaccinate dogs and cats against rabies.
  • Keep pets inside and supervise them when they go outdoors.
  • Avoid attracting stray animals and wildlife to your home.  Keep garbage cans covered securely, and do not leave food out overnight, including pet food.
  • Teach children never to touch wild animals or cats and dogs they are unfamiliar with.
  • Never touch a dead animal.

The way rabies is usually transmitted is through close contact with saliva, scratches, or bites from infected animals.

–Guest Contributor

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Dallas Dog Attack Injury Attorney: Tips on Preventing Dog Bites and Exposure to Rabies – Part 3

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Rabid Jackal

Rabid Jackal (Photo credit: Artbandito)

As mentioned in the first segment of this series, the animal services department in Abilene, Texas, has offered lessons on preventing rabies.  This is a valuable service, considering how deadly the rabies virus can be.  In an alarming story out of The Colony, Texas, late last month, three people were bitten by a dog that had rabies.  Authorities believe the dog contracted rabies from feral cats in the area.

Exposure to rabies will cause death if the infected person does not get vaccinations.  All pet owners should take every precaution to ensure that their pets receive rabies vaccinations and are protected from exposure to rabies.

Reducing the possibility that dogs and cats will be exposed to rabies is best achieved by ensuring that they do not run loose.  When pets roam freely, the chance that they will be exposed to a rabid animal such as a raccoon or bat is far greater.  When dogs and cats are spayed or neutered, it reduces both aggression and roaming tendencies.

Children should be taught not to touch animals they are unfamiliar with, even if the animal appears to be friendly.

The following are tips for cutting the risks of being exposed to rabies from wild animals:

  • Don’t keep a wild animal as a pet.
  • Do not leave pet food or garbage outside because it could attract stray or wild animals.
  • If a wild animal is obviously acting in a strange manner, such as approaching humans in daylight, report that you saw the animal to animal control services for the appropriate city or county.

For tips about preventing dog bites and information about the causes of dog attacks, see Part 1 and Part 2 of this three-part series.

–Guest Contributor

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