Pets In Washoe County Come In Contact With Rabid Bat

Aug 25, 2016

The brown bat is one of the species indigenous to Washoe County known to carry the rabies virus.
Credit Nevada Department Of Agriculture

Five bats in Washoe County have tested positive for rabies over the last 60 days. Reno Public Radio’s Anh Gray reports one case led to a series of unfortunate events.

It started with a domestic cat becoming exposed to one of those rabid bats and then had to be put down. That cat lived in a home with three other dogs. Those dogs received booster shots as a precaution since they weren’t up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations.

Jim Shaffer is with Washoe County Health District Vector Borne Disease. He says things took a bad turn when the dogs went for medical care.

“One of them was at the vet, they bit one of the technicians at a veterinarian clinic,” Shaffer says, “and he [the technician] had to go ahead with the rabies series shots.”

Shaffer says it’s not unusual to have rabid bats in the region. Bat activity is also more common during the summer when there are more insects to feed on.

Shyanne Schull with Washoe County Regional Animal Services says there are protective measures.

“The most important message that we can convey to the community is making sure those vaccinations for rabies are up-to-date,” Schull says, “to protect your pets which in turn will protect you.”

Schull says rabid bats often are unable to fly and can be found by pets outdoors.