WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - The city of Wichita Falls Animal Services Center is encouraging pet owners to increase their awareness of Rabies.
They said they have seen an increase in calls from people who have either been bitten or scratched by animals who are concerned about Rabies.
Most wild animals are not infected with rabies but residents should always keep in mind that wild animals, by nature, are unpredictable and can carry disease.
They said any exposure to wild animals alive or dead, in particular bats, raccoons, skunks, coyotes, and foxes should be avoided as these are the top five carriers of the disease in Texas.
Animal Services is encouraging everyone who sees a wild or domestic animal active during the day that appears sick, fearless, or aggressive to contact Animal Control immediately.
Be aware that rabies can only be transmitted by saliva. Exposure may occur if scratched by an infected animal or whenever saliva enters an open cut or mucous membrane (nose, mouth, eyes).
Animal Services also says do not attempt to capture or shoot the animal as this increases the risk of exposure and the animal cannot be tested if it is shot in the head.
Rabies is preventable and Animal Services offers a few tips to ensure you or your pet stays healthy.
Always make sure your pets are up to date on their vaccinations. Don't let your pets roam free. Avoid wild animals even if they appear friendly. Never coax a wild animal to eat from your hand.
If you encounter a bat, do not handle it. Teach your children to report any bite or scratch they receive from animals.
If you have been bitten or scratched, Animal Services encourages you to contact your doctor and also the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District to make a report.