by Brent HoveyReporterAurora -- Portage County Health Department officials are warning residents of a rabid bat found in the city earlier this month.After treating a dog Oct. 5 which was exposed to a rabid bat, the Aurora Veterinary Clinic turned the bat over to the health department Oct. 12 for testing.The health department said the dog was exposed to the bat, which was captured in the Whisperwood subdivision and tested positive for rabies.The veterinary clinic spokesman did not provide specific details, including where the dog came from and how it might have been exposed.The dog was taken to the veterinarian clinic, where it was re-vaccinated and observed for a few days. According to the health department, it was doing fine as of Oct. 25.A sign was placed outside the clinic this week warning citizens that a bat with rabies was found in the city.Kelly Engelhart, director of nursing for the health department, said it is not unusual to have a bat test positive for rabies, adding about 10 percent to 15 percent of them carry rabies.She noted dogs are more likely to get rabies from a raccoon than a bat since they have more contact with the mammal.Both Engelhart and the veterinary clinic spokesman said it is important to keep a watchful eye on dogs and other animals, but the best way to prevent a pet from getting rabies is to get them vaccinated.Engelhart said any time a bat gets into a home, the health department should be notified."Any time you wake up and see a bat in your home, you should call because a bat can bite a human or a pet in their sleep without you knowing," she explained. If a pet begins to show symptoms of rabies -- change in behavior or barking, disorientation, aggression, restlessness, foaming mouth -- it should be taken to a veterinarian's office as soon as possible.Engelhart explained when animals are tested for rabies, brain tissue must be checked and that requires the animal to be euthanized."That's why we usually just quarantine the animal," she said. "Within the first 10 days, it will show symptoms or die from rabies if they have it."There's no way to totally prevent a pet from being exposed to wild animals with rabies. That's why Engelhart stressed that pet owners be extra careful when pets are outside.E-mail: bhovey@recordpub.comPhone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3115