Rabies is a disease that affects the brain in mammals. It’s usually passed from animal to animal but it can be passed between animals and humans. Rabies is caused by a virus that is transmitted through saliva. Rabies is fatal if not treated before onset.

Texas State Law requires all cats and dogs have current rabies vaccinations.

For more information: English & Spanish Flyer

Top 5 animals that can carry rabies

  • Bats
  • Skunks
  • Coyotes
  • Foxes
  • Raccoons

Preventing Rabies

  • Vaccinate your dogs and cats
  • Restrain your pets; do not allow them to roam freely in public
  • Avoid contact with wild animals and unknown dogs and cats
  • Do not touch sick or injured animals
  • If your pet is bitten, scratched or in a fight with any animal, call 311.

Animal bites and scratches

If you are bitten or scratched by any kind of animal:

  • wash the wound well with lots of soap and water
  • call your doctor right away
  • call 311

You may need to get rabies or other shots.

If your pet is bitten, scratched or in a fight with any animal, you must call 311.

Be sure to get the name and phone number of the owner of any pet that bites you or your pet.

Recognizing Rabies

First symptoms of rabies include

  • Change in personality, depression
  • Fever and loss of appetite

Advance signs progress within days to nervous system abnormalities such as

  • Abnormal behavior, aggression, and/or self-mutilation
  • Dropped jaw, tongue incoordination, difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation
  • Wobbly, weakness, paralysis, seizures


Bat season is March through November. The Austin Animal Center and the Austin/Travis County Health Department want to remind the public of ways to minimize the danger of exposure to rabid bats in the Austin/Travis County community.

As a general reminder, never handle a bat alive or dead with bare hands.

More information can be found on this informational flyer, here.


Canine Distemper

Canine distemper is a virus affecting unvaccinated dogs. It is most often found in southern states, like Texas. The virus can impact all systems in the body, but typically starts with upper respiratory signs. Signs of distemper could include: lack of interest in food, extreme lethargy, severe nasal discharge, sesvere coughing, muscle tremors or seizures, change in skin condition or inability to walk straight. Visit your vet immediately if you observe any of these sytmptons in your dog. 

For more information about canine distemper, view FAQ's here.