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Potentially rabid animals Animal Bites
Rabies is a viral disease which attacks nerve and brain tissue. In Idaho, wild animals account for the highest number of reported rabies cases. These are raccoons, foxes, skunks and bats. Rarely infected are rats, mice, squirrels, rabbits and hamsters.

Vaccinate your dog and cat. Pets are more likely to be bitten by wild animals. Vaccinating your dog and cat not only protects the pet, but also protects family members who come in contact with the pet.

Dog Avoid strange-acting animals both domestic and wild. Teach your children to stay away from wild animals and unknown dogs and cats. Make sure they tell you if they are bitten or scratched by an animal. Don't attempt to catch or keep wild animals as pets.

What should I do if I am bitten by an animal?
  • Immediately wash any wounds with soap and water
  • Then call your doctor and follow his recommendations
  • Report the bite to your local health department. The Health Department may require quarantining or testing of biting animals for rabies
  • Do not kill any animal in such a way that the head will be damaged. The head must be in good condition for laboratory testing
  • Don't think that rabid animals can be spotted easily because they drool or foam at the mouth. This happens only some of the time in the latter stages of the disease.
Vector-borne Diseases

A disease that is transmitted to humans or other animals by an insect or other arthropod is called a vector-borne disease. In Idaho, the vectors of most concern are mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas.

There are mosquito species in Idaho that can transmit disease causing organisms to people and animals. West Nile Fever, St. Louis Encephalitis, and Western Equine Encephalitis are all mosquito borne diseases.

Rodent Rodents and Diseases

In Idaho, the deer mouse is known to carry the virus that causes Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. People are normally infected when they breathe in dust particles carrying the virus from deer mouse feces and urine.

Special precautions need to be taken when cleaning a building (house, cabin, shed, etc). Check sleeping bags and tents for rodent infestation before going on a camping trip.

Norway Rats are common carriers of vectors and various organisms that can cause disease. If there are rats nesting near your home, there are actions that can be taken to safely remove the nest.

Always remember rats need three things for them to maintain their nest:
  1. Water (canals or other water-ways, watering troughs, animal dishes)
  2. Food (pet food, ripe fruit and vegetables from gardens, seeds)
  3. Shelter (bushes; piles of wood, tires, or debris; look for "burrows" near sheds/foundations)
Helpful Links:

Mosquito West Nile Virus Call List
Mosquito Information