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Old 02-12-2015, 02:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Pet pit bull saves Norwich girl, 11, from rabid raccoon

Poor pooch hope he is good after being locked up for 6 months after being a hero! Good argument to keep your pets rabies up to date, could have just been 10 days if he wasn't overdue for his shot.

Pet pit bull saves Norwich girl, 11, from rabid raccoon - News - The Bulletin - Norwich, CT

By Adam Benson
[email protected]
(860) 908-7004
Posted Feb. 10, 2015 at 10:12 PM

NORWICH - For much of his short life, Tank has been many things to the Vanase family: Pet, friend, companion and blanket.

But on Feb. 1, he earned another title: Hero. The 1 ½-year-old pit bull subdued and killed a rabid raccoon that had cornered Savannah Vanase, 11, inside a chicken coop at her family’s 14th Street home in Norwich.

The act landed Tank a six-month quarantine in the city dog pound and put Savannah, her three siblings and parents in The William W. Backus Hospital emergency room for a total of 31 rabies shots – the first of a regimen that includes 19 more vaccinations.

"He was really close to me, because he almost got one of the chickens,"Savannah said of the raccoon. "Tank bit him on the tail, flung him back against the fence and they just kept fighting. It was just so amazing. I was astonished that he went in front of me and killed a raccoon right in front of me.”

Hospital and public health officials say a situation like the Vanase family’s is rare, but not unprecedented.

"It’s not something that happens every day, but it's certainly something that we need to be prepared for, and have rabies shots on hand because if there is an exposure, you want to start treatment quickly,"Backus spokesman Shawn Mawhiney said.

At around $3,000 per injection, treatment for rabies gets expensive quickly, but Vanase said much of the cost is covered by private health insurance.
Patrick McCormack, executive director of the Uncas Health District, said even interactions between domesticated animals and wild ones with rabies is unusual, because many either die in isolation or get killed by vehicles or other outside forces.

"In this case, the protocol was followed. It’s unfortunate when the family members have to get treatment, but the positive to take from the situation is we're preventing people from getting sick or dying from rabies, which is the ultimate goal.”

According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, human-related deaths from rabies is extremely uncommon, with about 2 per year recorded since the 1990s, and nearly always because infected people have failed to seek medical attention.

Christopher Vanase said city animal control officers urged him to send the raccoon away for testing, which he did days after the incident. By last Wednesday, the family was undergoing their first round of inoculations.
"They potentially saved my family’s life,"Vanase said of the animal control officers.

Unfortunately for Tank, he was just three days beyond his annual rabies shot date, forcing him into the prolonged quarantine.

His home until Aug. 5 is a kennel at Mohegan Park, the chain link fence doorway marked with an orange "biohazard"warning sign.

If the confrontation happened within a year of him getting injected, the dog would have faced a 45-day in-home quarantine.

Short of the isolation period, the only way to know definitely whether Tank was infected would be to euthanize him and take a cross-section of his brain to be tested.

"There’s no good way to say it. People learn one at a time,"Animal Control Officer Michele Lombardi said.

The Vaneses plan to visit their beloved pet at least twice a week during his confinement.

"We’re not losing confidence. And we don’t want him to get depressed,"said Theran Vanase, 12.

Theran’s mother, Tracey, said the family is optimistic that Tank will return to them this summer.

"He’s my fifth child,"she said "We're very positive he'll survive, but if that doesn't happen, we'll know he died a hero."
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Last edited by ames; 02-12-2015 at 02:58 AM.
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