I came home one day in late May to find a bat in a jar on the kitchen counter.
Before I got home, hubby noticed our dog, Abby, checking out something on the back porch in the middle of the afternoon. It turned out to be this bat. The “middle of the afternoon” is the bad part, as bats should not be out and about in the sunlight. If they are, it could be a sign of trouble.
Hubby called Abby away, put up the dogs, and captured the bat in the jar without touching it (very important). Abby was current on her vaccines but as a precaution we took her to the vet for a booster rabies shot. We also took the bat in a jar. The vet staff killed the bat and boxed it up for us to take to the health department. (The health department does not accept live bats for testing.) This was late Tuesday afternoon, so hubby took the boxed-up bat to the health department in Austin first thing Wednesday morning.
Thursday the health department calls us to report that the bat tested positive for rabies. Off we go, back to the vet, taking the other two dogs (also current on their vaccines) to get a booster rabies shot.
What we don’t know is if any of the dogs actually touched the bat. Hubby saw Abby looking at it, but who knows what when on before he discovered what she was investigating.
Protocol requires that the dogs be isolated. Our three dogs stayed home for 45 days and we kept Abby separate from the other two, as well. (If they hadn’t been current on their vaccines before finding the bat, it would have been a 90-day isolation time frame.)
I fretted a little. Rabies is serious stuff and there are no do-overs. It’s not like getting the flu where you can decide to go to the doctor after you’ve been feeling bad for a while. No, rabies is something you have to prevent. The woman at the health department answered all our questions and indicated that we (the humans) were not considered at risk or exposed as we hadn’t touched the bat at all.
Good news: The isolation period ended July 10th and all is well with all the dogs. We haven’t found any more bats, either.