Friday, August 11, 2006

Heat effects

Its been a very interesting summer, even without the usual tropical weather. Weirdest spell was when the weather man said the humidity was staying so high because it was too hot to rain. I'd never heard that one before! Summer storms have been severe in some places, though decidedly tame near us, but it seems the extreme heat may have been responsible for the extended rabies scare we've had around here. Our little neighborhood has had 7 rabid foxes, 1 aggressive possum (health unknown), & 1 sick raccoon sighting this season, which may be a new record. Tom took down four of these himself. (The animal control guy & Tom have developed a decided respect for one another.)

All the rural counties in the region seemed to have a very large problem with rabies this year. There have been dozens of sick fox/raccoon sightings, and eleven humans who had to be treated for it in our county health dept alone. Biggest case was an entire girl scout troup who had bats in their summer cabins in the next county. Some of the bats were caught and tested & the whole troup had to get shots because of the results. The whole flock wasn't infected but you never knew which ones had gotten in their hair and all. Everyone has had the sense to get shots when they knew they were at risk, thankfully. Even the four-year old boy recovered beautifully. They know he was infected, but it looks like the shots will be the worst part of the memory for him. Thank God!

The animal control guy says the rabies scare may have lasted longer than usual because the heatwave allowed the rabies virus itself to survive longer in carcasses etc. You have to be careful of all kinds of infectious agents when the heat index doesn't drop below usual body temperatures for extended periods. This is a side to global warming we had never thought about before. We may all of us need to stockpile more bleach in coming years! Heat may also have directly affected the behavior of the possum, as possums aren't known for contracting rabies. Humans aren't the only ones who get testy when the weather stays unpleasant.

Anyway, You can imagine how happy we have been to see the weather cool back into the mid-80's! There have been no new cases since, that we know about.

Figured I ought to officially mention that all of our cats, including the two strays who wandered up this spring, are still fine long after the ten day 'watch' period that restarted each time a rabid fox was taken down in our area. In fact, with their predator concerns reduced and the nice weather lately, all the kitties are back to full relaxation mode.

Pahket loves her warm sunny spots :)

That is, if you don't count the frozen-in-place glares Pahket & Sandy (one of the stray moggies) have been giving one another. Sandy grew a great deal while Pahket remained mostly indoors the last month or two. He now looks like a creamy-pale, flat-headed version of our lovely marmalade beauty. The first day they faced off like that 'mirror' scene in the old comedies, matching each twitch of their tails and flick of their ears. It was hilarious!


Alpyne Lady said...

Globial warming - and hot viruses, and hot tempers! Yikes! Another reason to see how much we can do to improve the way we do our every day living. In the mean time keeping a watchful eye on what is going on is good, and enjoying life's fun moments.

PopTart Mom said...

You just reminded me that Fuzz is due for his rabies shot! *Thanks*

MommaK said...

I, too, think the heat has something to do with it. Glad to have some cool weather lately!

Thanks for stopping by today :)

Jodi said...

awwww cute cat! Glad your pets were not affected by the rabies scare.

Jodi from SHS

Shushan said...

Thanks for stopping in! Yep, our cats & the friendly strays remain happy cats, notwithstanding the pouts of the moment due to the light rain shower that heralds yet another spell of cool weather. Yay!