Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Public Service Announcement

As you may know, we're big animal lovers around here. We have cats and dogs and, obviously, chickens.

Most of our pets have come from the Humane Society or were strays or were from local rescue groups. I've also worked with and around animals for, basically, my whole life. I've interned at veterinary hospitals, worked at Miami MetroZoo with all kinds of exotics for over five years, at stables and more. So you can say that I feel pretty comfortable around animals.

I've only ever had one experience where I felt uncomfortable near an animal. Our house has a very open yard and backs up to some woods. One night last year just around around dusk the hubby spotted a fox way out in the yard. Now we get lots of deer and groundhogs and more around our place so this didn't surprise me that much. Growing up I used to see foxes very closely almost every morning while I walked my dog. When I went outside to get look at this one I noticed it was acting very strange. I couldn't put my finger on it at first but I actually got scared a bit. And I never ever get scared around an animal.

Even though we were grilling out, I insisted we both go back inside for a while. When I analyzed the encounter, I think it was that, while the fox was way out by the brush and could have run off into the dark, it didn't. It actually stood there and looked at us. Then it walked toward us a bit. It was totally wrong. Our area has had a number of rabies reports over that past few years so, even though it wasn't confirmed, it was a great possibility that this fox was infected. I didn't stick around to find out.

Many animals can get and be carriers of rabies and it's often not easy to tell if they are infected. Dogs and cats will typically show symptoms and die within 10 days but a raccoon can have the infection for years and not show it. It's hugely important that you get your pet the vaccine (and it's a law anyway in most places) to save them from getting the infection. In the US cats are more infected than dogs are. I don't condone having your cat's outdoors but if you do they should be vaccinated!

Image by Greencolander

So where's the PSA? Well, when I got home the other night there was stray kitty coming out from under my garage. Being the impulsive animal lover (and rescuer) I dropped everything and went over to see if I could catch the kitty. She was young-ish and sweet and it didn't take long to get her to come near me. But, in retrospect, I was impulsive. I rushed it which I should have known better. But in my haste to get her caught and cared for, I always worry less about myself. And I don't worry about getting hurt either.

So I picked her up.

She was not happy about that at all and struggled to get away. Typically I tried to get a better hold to keep her from getting away (possibly to just run out to the road) and to get her onto our porch so we could crate her.

Doing this in short sleeves was probably not the best choice but if I had gone into the house to get gloves and a coat she may have gone away. Scratches I don't mind. I have had so many scratches (and, frankly, bites) over the year that I don't even notice the scars any more. And don't tell my friend who works in a doctor's office - I never get infections.

So, the kitty struggled... and yeah, she bit me. I'm so smart.

Of course, I did let her go at that point because I was bleeding. And the hubby was really not happy with me. He wasn't any happier when I went back out to try and get her too, after I got my jacket at least. By then it was getting dark and I couldn't see her anymore.

But the big question was, do I go and get the Rabies shot?

I'll admit it. I wasn't looking forward to that. I didn't really feel that this kitty was infected but, since untreated rabies is pretty much 100% fatal, I thought it just might be a good idea to be safe.

I went to my doctor the next day to have the bite looked at. Luckily I have had a tetanus shot in the last five years (or unluckily - I'm a klutz much of the time. I admit it), so I didn't need to deal with that. They did put me on a course of antibiotics since cat bites can be pretty "dirty". And yep, they said I would need to go to the emergency room/hospital triage to get reviewed for the rabies shots.


Have you ever been to the emergency room? As I said, I'm a klutz, so this was my third time. All I can say is bring a book. A long book. And some water. And some antibacterial hand wipes or something. It ain't fun. And you will have to wait a minimum of like four hours unless you've been shot or something. On the plus side, the doctor was impressed with my immune system as evidenced by my lack of infection at the wound.

So, yeah, I was going to have to get the series of shots to prevent rabies from potentially killing me. That's right, I said series. If you didn't know it, it isn't just one shot one time. Oh no. It's a whole bunch of shots over five rounds. I had read up on the process in advance and I was happy that it was no longer a series of shots into your stomach. Because dying may have been preferable. No, it was in the arm, leg and butt. Whoo Hoo!

But even I was a bit surprised when they came out with 11 needles. ELEVEN! Aaack!

In the end, it wasn't horrible. It wasn't fun but it wasn't the worst thing. I'm a scrapper.

Even more exciting is that I get to go back four more times, including two times this week. Which is a hell of a way to spend my birthday week. This week is getting jam packed with fun - two more nights waiting to get shots at the triage, a night taking Napoleon for a follow-up at the vets and a meeting. At least one night we'll go out to dinner to celebrate. And I'll have plenty of time to read. I just started The Queen's Fool. I'll probably finish it before the week is out too, with all of the waiting I have in store for me.

But if I finish my book I'll be able to use my new b-day gift -

Yep! The hubby got me the Kindle I'd been pining for! I can't wait to use it. It's so light I can carry it around all the time. Now I just need to decide what books to download to it.

I'm so excited!

So what did we learn here?

1. Don't pick up stray kitties unless you are covered (although I'd probably do it again. I'm dumb like that)
2. Get your pets vaccinated
3. Always have something to read

And for good measure - support services to help get more animals vaccinated.


cybill said...

Poochie, Why wasn't your 6th sense working for the kitten when it was for the fox? Trouble is that kittens are just so darn cute I guess.
I think that your 3rd point is an excellent piece of advice for life "always have something to read".
Happy Birthday to you.

Princess Poochie said...


I think the most obvious answer is that I'm just not that bright!

: )

And yes, she was a cutie.


Sal said...

Yikes! I'm so glad you went to the ER. My mom was bitten by a stray cat many years ago, and her hand became so swollen and infected they had to saw off her wedding band. I have those same instincts around strays, though. It's hard to resist. Glad you are OK, post-rabies-shot extravaganza.

Robo said...

Oooh that seemed like an ordeal, but glad to know you're okay. I was wondering about the Kindle and was pleasantly surprised by your mention of it. I'm assuming you have to pay to download books and other stuff?

Princess Poochie said...


I've just started using it but it is really cool. Yes, you have to pay to download the books but it is a per time fee. Just like buying a book but usually a bit cheaper. There is no monthly or other service fee.