ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – After a bat with rabies was found in Abilene, a local veterinarian has a timely warning for pet owners. 

Animal Health and Medical Center’s Doctor Allen Bolt explained that with being in a warm Spring season, more wild animals carrying rabies could be expected. 

“If we keep our pets vaccinated, then you’re not going to get the spread that we would if we don’t have them vaccinated,” Dr. Bolt advised.  

Over a period of time, Dr. Bolt said the virus will build up in the population and, just like any other disease, it is going to spill out.  

“Once we isolate rabies this early in the year, then you better look out,” Dr. Bolt warned. “Because we’re probably going to have a lot more this summer.”

Typically, when a nocturnal animal, such as bats, are out during the day, officials say you should assume that it is rabid.  

“It creates problems in their brains, so they’re not acting the way they normally do,” Dr. Bolt illustrated. “So, that means they’ve got an infection of some type.”

This was the case of the bat found on April 13 in the Mesquite Forest neighborhood, off Queen Ann’s Lace in the Wylie area.  After a positive test was confirmed, residents in the neighborhood and surrounding area were notified.

“The chances of a bat at your house being rabid is very small, but you can’t be too careful,” advised Interim Director for Abilene Animals Services, Karen Holland.  

According to Holland, area residents were notified that a dog was found playing with the rabid bat. 

“We got the call and within 15 minutes we made all the calls that we needed to make,” said Holland. 

Luckily, Holland assured that the dog was current on their vaccines.

“Take all precautions, because rabies can spread through saliva, through scratch, or a bite,” Holland explained. “For bats they can scratch you without you even knowing that they scratch you, because they’re so small.”

Dr. Bolt and Holland advise to the public that the rabies vaccine must be administered to pets every year, as required by the state.