City News

Drought Increases Rabies Risk - Protect Your Pets by Vaccinating Them

As California's record-breaking drought continues, San Mateo County health officials are launching a campaign to educate the public about the dangers of rabies and how to protect themselves, their pets, families and the community by vaccinating pets. 

Rabies is transmitted through animal bites and saliva. Animal bites are more common during the summer, as pets and people spend more time outside. And the drought is drawing many wild animals closer to houses as they look for water, which puts pets and people at greater risk.

"Show your love for your pets by making sure they are vaccinated against rabies," said Dr. Julia Wang-Lewis, one of the county's veterinarians. "Getting your pets vaccinated is the only way to protect them and the entire community against rabies, which is 100% fatal in animals and usually fatal in people if note treated right away."

Rabies occur naturally in California. In 2014, 178 rabid animals were identified, including two cats and a dog.

In addition to vaccinating against rabies, it's also important to make sure the pet is licensed. Licensing is the best way to ensure pets are returned home if they get lost.

For more information, visit www.smchealth.org/animalbite.