Rabies is a deadly disease transmitted by saliva and has no cure. This is a frightening disease that can cause you to panic if you encounter a wild animal, especially if that encounter results in a bite to you or your pet. Voles are a mouse-like rodent (shorter tail and stouter body than a mouse) that has been known to bite pets and humans.
In theory, any mammal can contract rabies. However, small prey animals are unlikely to have rabies. Basically, if another animal with rabies attacks a small prey animal such as a mouse, vole or even a rabbit, that prey animal would probably not survive the attack to carry the rabies disease. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, there is no history of a vole bite causing rabies in a human.
Wild carnivorous mammals such as raccoons, skunks and foxes as well as bats are the most likely carriers of the rabies virus. If you or your pet has been bitten by a wild animal, it is important to seek medical attention. While rabies is more of an urgency than an emergency, you or your pet needs to be treated as soon as possible to avoid further complications and possible death.
Your pets should always be vaccinated against rabies to avoid an outbreak. If you are regularly in contact with wild animals and are concerned for your own safety, there are also vaccinations available for humans.
If you see any animal behaving strangely, voles or otherwise, it is best to err on the side of caution. CedarRun.org lists danger signs as changes in temperament, hiding, restlessness, nervousness, becoming more vicious, wandering, snapping at everything, trying to chew free of restraints, biting at itself, biting so hard as to break its own teeth, frothing and drooling excessively, being oblivious to pain and having paralysis of the vocal chords. Avoid any animals who are behaving strangely and contact authorities.
While you do not need to worry about the voles you come across, do be especially cautious about bats. Bats have caused the majority of rabies breakouts in recent history. Moreover, your child or pet may be bitten by a bat and you may not even realize it due to the bite being so small. If you find a bat in the living areas of your home--especially in the daytime--contact a humane officer or animal control officer so they can remove it and have it tested for rabies.
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