Department of Health officials warn against the dangers of rabies

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. – Everyone loves their pets, but something pet owners might overlook is their pet’s vaccinations, especially if they go outside.

The Department of Health is reminding the community of the dangers of rabies.

It is a virus that affects the nervous system and causes major neurological damage to those infected.

Symptoms include animals acting aggressive, erratic or drunk, or falling over.

Domesticated animals can be quarantined and will display symptoms no more than 10 days after exposure, but wild animals have to be tested to properly diagnose the virus, which is why officials say it’s important to keep an eye on your pets.

“If you put your dog or cat outside without protection from rabies, you’re risking that dog or cat being a channel for rabies to get into your household and infect your family members or yourself,” said Michael Templin, an Environmental Health Specialist at the Florida Department of Health.

If you find a suspicious animal, especially wild bats whose bites are often too small to detect or think you may have exposed to rabies call the Department of Health at (850) 872-4455.

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