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Name: Brittany
Status: Other
Grade: Other
Location: NC
Date: N/A 
 

Question:
is it a fact that squirrels do not transmit rabies?



Replies:
Hi Brittany,

That's a great question, because rabies is a really important disease to understand and prevent.

The animals most commonly diagnosed with rabies in the eastern US are bats and raccoons. Dogs and cats are very susceptible, but they can be protected with vaccinations and so are only a problem when people don't have then vaccinated. Rabies is usually spread when a rabid animal bites another animal.

All mammals can get rabies, but for squirrels and other small mammals, only a few cases have been seen. This is believed to be because small animals are more likely to die from the trauma of a bite of a rabid animal than to survive and later develop rabies. No transmission of rabies to a human from a squirrel has ever been reported.

But all wildlife can carry other diseases that can spread to humans or pets. So, it is good to treat them as though they have the potential to transmit disease and avoid direct contact.

The most important points about rabies are to avoid handling bats, report all animal bites to your physician and be sure that all dogs and cats are vaccinated against rabies. A good website for more information is:

http://www.avma.org/animal_health/brochures/rabies/rabies_brochure.asp

Laura Hungerford, DVM, MPH, PhD


Squirrels are mammals and can carry rabies. They can transmit it as well. Squirrels can bite. Like any wild animal they should be left alone and not handled.

Saundra Sample DVM
Click here to return to the Veterinary Topics Archive

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