• Vision: A Healthy Texas

    Mission: To improve the health, safety, and well-being of Texans through good stewardship of public resources, and a focus on core public health functions.
  • Texas 211

Rabies Grade Level: K-5

Subject: Health Education

TEKS Correlation: This lesson will show students how their behaviors affect their health throughout their lifetime. (TEKS for Health Education: K.7, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1, 4.1, 5.1 )

Overview: This lesson will teach students about ways to protect themselves and their pets against rabies.

Rational: Students will benefit from this lesson because it will teach them health behaviors that will affect them throughout their lifetime.

Duration: 30 minutes

Instructional Objectives:

  • Students will learn what rabies is.
  • Students will learn how humans and animals can contract rabies.
  • Students will learn the symptoms of rabies.
  • Students will learn how to protect themselves and their animals against rabies.
  • Students will learn what to do if confronted by a wild or unknown animal.
  • Students will learn what to do if bitten by any animal.

Procedure: Use the following questions to guide a discussion with your students.

What is Rabies?

  • Rabies is a virus that affects warm-blooded animals' nervous system. There is no cure for rabies and inevitably causes death.

How is rabies spread?

  • Rabies is spread from animal to animal by bites or scratches. The rabies virus is carried in the saliva of animals. Since many animals lick their paws, it is possible for an animal or human to catch rabies from being scratched by an infected animal. It is also possible to contract rabies if an animal with rabies licks an open wound.

What are the signs and symptoms of an animal that has rabies?

  • Animals that have a change in behavior. A friendly dog might want to be alone. A shy dog might want attention. Rabid dogs often become mean, roam, make strange noises and attack people and other animals. Rabid animals may drool, and they sometimes swallow stones, sticks and other things.
  • Wild animals that seem to be friendly or tame.
  • Wild animals (coyotes, foxes, bats, skunks, and racoons) which you do not usually see in the daytime.
  • Animals that have a hard time walking, eating, or drinking.
  • Excitement or meanness in animals.
  • Animals that bite or scratch at an old wound until it bleeds.

What kinds of animals carry rabies?

  • Any warm blooded animal can carry rabies, including: dogs, cats, bats, skunks, coyotes, and raccoons.

How can we prevent the spread of rabies?

  • Your animals can be protected against rabies by getting a rabies vaccination. By law, in the state of Texas, your pet needs to be vaccinated each year.
  • Don't let your pets roam. When they roam, they have a greater chance of coming into contact with wild animals who might carry rabies.
  • Avoid contact with wild animals, including dogs and cats that you do not know. Do not try to hand feed wild animals and do not keep them as pets.
  • Do not touch sick or injured animals. Call and report them to an animal control officer.
  • Don't let your home become a target.
  • Do not leave food or water outside your house. This attracts wild animals to your home.

What do you do if you are bitten by an animal?

  1. Quickly and thoroughly wash the bit with soap and water. Rinse it well. Put alcohol or iodine on it to kill germs.
  2. Tell an adult immediately.
  3. See a doctor as soon as possible. The doctor will decide if you need treatment to prevent rabies.
  4. Contact a policeman, school guard, or other adult. Describe the animal that bit you--the kind, size, and color--to the doctor, local health authority, or animal control officer.

What is the Texas Department of Health doing to prevent the spread of rabies?

The Texas Department of health participates in a program called The Oral Rabies Vaccination Program (OVRP). This program uses a vaccine that animals can eat. They drop these vaccinated "treats" over areas in South Texas where the rate of rabies is high. When animals like coyotes eat these treats they become vaccinated against rabies.

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Last updated July 17, 2013