Wildlife Removal Education, Advice, and Tips

What Diseases Can Bats Give to Pets?

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How many times has your pampered pooch come home with a dead (or almost dead) bat in its mouth? What about your cat? They're the worst for that kind of behavior, aren't they? That simple trick of your pet gifting you a dead animal might seem like an innocent enough gesture, but if your pet hasn't had the appropriate vaccinations, the outcome of your story is going to be very different.

Rabies ... did you know that bats can carry it? That's not the only disease they're known for either, but let's just talk about rabies for a moment.

Your pet cat or dog should have been vaccinated against this disease, and that's because rabies is still very prevalent in the USA. Bats are a lesser-known offender, but an offender nevertheless. Raccoons are one of the biggest culprits as far as rabies is concerned.

What if your pet were to find that one bat in the colony that was kicked out by the rest for being rabid? The virus needs to move from the saliva of the animal into the bloodstream of another animal in order to pass it along, and a bat can still be infected for a number of hours (and sometimes longer) after death. A dog or cat chewing on a dead infected bat might be enough to do it. A bat that fights back and bites will also pass the virus along. If your pet hasn't been vaccinated it could contract the disease and if you weren't to know about it (or take your pet to the vet), your pet would then become very sick and likely die. They might even bite you – giving you the disease. Again, if you don't know that your pet has been in physical contact with a rabies vector, you won't know to get yourself checked out by a medical professional. How many times have your pets scratched or bitten you and you've then gone to the emergency room? Very few we would imagine.

Many people are not aware that bats can pose a rabies problem. Many people are not even aware of the other conditions that the flying mammals can introduce to a household, such as histoplasmosis, found in the droppings of the animal. Wildlife in your home or back garden might seem like a fun idea at first, but after a while ... things get real. Go back to the Bat Removal page, or learn about bats in the attic with my Bats in the Attic guide.

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