How to defeat werewolves and vampires

Published 10:01 am Tuesday, June 14, 2011

By DR. FRED SELF / Veterinarian

It is human nature to find ways to explain things we do not understand. Sometimes we spend millions doing research, other times we make up scary stories.

In the case of werewolves and vampires, we seem to have started with the scary stories.

Now, after centuries, we have research to explain those scary stories. In the case of werewolves and vampires, we have stories of humans that were bitten by wild animals and turned into monsters. With werewolves, we see a transformation in attitude. The human becomes aggressive. Vampires are humans that develop a fear of holy water.

Currently, we understand that rabies, a virus that can be spread to humans from wild and domestic animals, has an aggressive form and a dumb form. Also, infected humans and animals have a fear of water, which is the reason for the condition often being called hydrophobia or hydrophoby.

It is also apparent that wolves and coyotes along with bats are frequent carriers of rabies. This is consistent with the stories about werewolves and vampires.

The answer to the question, “How do you defeat werewolves and vampires?” is to have your pets vaccinated against rabies. A new scary story we tell ourselves is that vaccinations are bad and that we vaccinate our pets too frequently. We are being told that vaccinations can make our pets sick and that they probably do not need to be vaccinated so frequently.

The facts are actually quite different.

Vaccinations do not make our pets sick. The truth is that some pets have reactions to vaccination. But honestly, some pets have reactions to cotton. To tell ourselves that because of reactions in some pets all vaccinations are bad is wrong. Likewise, it is wrong to believe that all pets respond the same to vaccines. A friend of mine and I were vaccinated for rabies on the same day. Four years later testing showed I was still protected and she was not. Without testing each pet, it is impossible to know how long they are protected.

In 2009, the state of Alabama changed the law requiring rabies shots for pets. We were required by law to vaccinate for rabies yearly. Now the time frame has been extended to once every three years for certain pets. The law is designed to protect owners not pets. Our pets act as a barrier between us and wild animals. Be sure to keep up with your furry friend’s rabies vaccinations.

It is the best way to keep yourself from becoming a werewolf or a vampire.

Dr. Fred Self is a veterinarian at Shelbiana Animal Clinic, along with Dr. Charles Thornburg. You can reach him at 669-7717.