Harley leaped into the air and knocked the bat down; it was stunned but quickly recovered and flew away. I never saw it again. I'm not sure if it got back outside, or if it died in a hidden spot in the garage. I looked for it and also watched Harley to see if he noticed where it went, but he didn't seem to know either. I am going to be rearranging the garage in the next few weeks, so I will probably find it if it never got out. But if it had died in the garage, I think it would have created a stink, or Harley would have found it, and either played with it, or ate it. Rabies can be transmitted by eating the raw meat of a dead rabid animal, or handling the meat with bare hands if you have an open sore or cut. Yes, it's true that only a small percentage of bats carry rabies - 1 to 4% or even less, depending on location and species. A cat can't tell you whether it's been bitten, and even humans don't always know if they were asleep when they were bitten. Even awake, people don't always know, because bat teeth are so tiny and sharp that they don't always leave a mark. A man in Monticello, MN died of rabies a few years back after shooing a bat out of his cabin. He felt a sharp pain on his finger, but looked, and saw no blood or mark, and thought nothing more of it. A month later, he developed symptoms of rabies, and a couple weeks after that he was dead. It took a while to diagnose because it is so rare in the US that most doctors (99.9%) will never see a case. Third world doctors are much more familiar with human cases (50,000 and more human fatalities a year in the rest of the world).

My plan with Harley is to vaccinate for rabies every 2-3 years or if I see a bat in the garage. He will receive no other vaccinations, though he did have the distemper combo as a kitten. I also make sure I separate vaccinations (except the combo) so as not to hit his immune system with all at once. When his FeLV begins to progress, he will no longer receive any vaccines at all.

Dumb thing about the calicivirus part of the combo - it doesn't protect against all strains of calicivirus! A local vet posts an anonymous "case of the week" online for people to try to guess, and that's what a recent one was. The cat was healthy and vaccinated, and was exposed to a different strain of it, and became extremely ill.

There is a soffit on the garage that needs to be repaired. It's on my project list. I should probably make it a higher priority, since it will soon be the time of year that a bat will want to seek shelter for the winter. But I only ever saw that one bat in the garage.


On 8/15/2014 12:18 PM, Lee Evans wrote:
The regular rabies shot actually lasts up to 3 years for immunity. Is the bat still living in the garage with Harley? You should not vaccinate him every year. It's not necessary. Not all bats have rabies or carry rabies. If there are holes in the garage ceiling or rafters, get someone to patch them up because bats do not usually fly in the door. They will go for a dark hole high up. I once found a dead bat in my yard, thought the cats had killed it and sent the body to rabies control. The bat did not have rabies. However, I had all the yard cats re-vaccinated for rabies. At that time, the vet told me that the protection lasts about 3 years, even with the regular shot.

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