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Skull tested for rabies

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by dls, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. dls

    dls New Member

    I cut myself skinning Bobcat. Tested by state, (PA) test was negative. I was tanning bobcat for customer and he wanted me to save the skull for him.
    Once I cut myself I felt it necessary to have it tested. The state won't return anything tested. Now customer is pissed that he isn't getting skull back. I offered to
    get another one and will clean and whiten. Originally I was supposed to just save skull, not clean and whiten. Still pissed. He wants to contact the state and get his back. We're talking 6-8 weeks ago. There's no way he will get his back. I will offer again to get another skull. He still owes me the balance of tanning bill. Any advice on how to proceed.
  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I would say SOL unless you just get another skull and say that it was his and apologize. The testing lab will have cut the skull in half to sample the brain tissue and then tossed it out. If you get another raw skull, make sure that you just remove the brain and say that the lab did it.

    Some folks will just not accept facts. You are dealing with one of those. Get him another skull and be done with him. At this point, only give him the skull when he pays his bill in full.

  3. mk

    mk -30 below

    you can still get rabies off a dead critter thats been frozen?
  4. dls

    dls New Member

    Yes you can.
  5. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Sometimes, it's better to be safe than sorry. There has been some discussion on the virus surviving being frozen. After something has been thawed for a while, I would doubt it as the virus is very fragile and it needs living tissue to survive. I also use lots of salt while skinning. A heavy salt content would also wreak havoc with the virus.

    Still, if you do not know the origin of your specimen, it's not something that I would want to toy with.
  6. brandi

    brandi New Member

    would hand sanitizer be enough to kill the virus if you get cut. if not what would be the best thing to clean your hands with even when your not cut, just to clean them and be safe. havent been cut yet but still use the hand sanitizer by the gallon.
  7. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Hand sanitizer and rubber gloves would be best.
  8. Get in touch with the lab if its not too late. When this happens you need to talk directly with the lab and work something out. I being an outdoorsman understood trophys and wanting to be safe. I wrote up a form relieveing the lab of any liability's of the skull being removed from the lab if it was negative (i.e.CWD or something else). I sent home many deer heads and skulls. I did precision extraction so that the skull could be glued back together.
  9. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Rusty, please clarify "I did precision extraction so that the skull could be glued back together." You mean to say that you extracted the brains to be tested? Was this testing for rabies specifically? Not any other disease ... rabies? I know of no CDC or State Public Health lab that accepts anything other than an intact, fresh head for testing of rabies. The skull is cut to remove the brain and they will NOT return any specimen submitted for sampling and they will not cater to someone that just wants the skull back afterwards.
  10. Yes, Yes, Yes.

    All they need is the brain I supevised the rabies Lab and knew many of other supv. in the country. They are regular people and some hunters. They will not make this open policy but can deal on case by case situations, its worth a try.
    This is to make it simple, they will take the brain, half a brain etc and gives the option of not accepting specimens where they could miss something sort of CYA. They used to test from 3 areas of the brain where the virus was known to be most prevelant, Some cerebrum, cerebellum and hippocampal region (Aman's Horn). There where methods of just taking a core sample thru the skull base. all which were consistant w/ complete dissection testing.
  11. PahinhWinh

    PahinhWinh New Member

    Hanh - Hello. Rabies can incubate for up to 1 year, so yes, you can get rabies from something that has been frozen. Kicker is, simple things kill the bug, such as: Fels naphtha soap & hot water (got to be immediately, though..); letting the cut bleed profusely & washing as preceding; peroxiding the cut immediately; and sunlight (strong, bright) - These all kill the bug. It's deadly, but fragile. Far & away best is to not be exposed, but that's kind of tough if you do taxidermy.
    Wear good gloves, keep your knives sharp, work carefully - & expect to get cut occasionally anyway.
    I can't help but wonder - what made you think this bobcat might have been rabid in the first place? How did the customer get it? If I have any question, I send it away.
    Rabies is nothing to fool with for anyone; & for me, more so, because I've had rabies prophylaxis shots & had to go thru full anaphylactic shock - miniature version.. 1/10 of a cc of The Shot every hour for 10 looooong hours & every miniature shot was followed by chills, nausea, shaking, sweats, diarrhea, rapid heartbeat, & near fainting... All because a doctor in the research project I was in at the time "thought" that rabies is an overblown disease & so is the risk of it, & incinerated a test subject without testing after it bit a technician. (Doctor lost his job but not his license.)
    Likeliest was, it was a fear bite, but we had already had an incident earlier in the year where 2 techs were bitten by a dog that did turn out to be rabid. Lucky for them their team leader believed in testing all bite cases...
    As for your customer - if this guy refuses to understand that you were exposed - at least possibly - to rabies, & he already has the tanned skin or the mount, aside from Small Claims Court, you are probably skunked (bad pun intended).
    For me, rule # 1 is, get a downpayment (cash, I don't chase checks or excuses); & nothing leaves my hands until the bill is paid in full. If I have any idea the customer might write me a bad check - such as this guy - I insist on cash payment & I tell them why. They've already gone adversarial.. can they get worse? I haven't seen it..
    In those rare cases where the customer doesn't want the skin or my work, I write them off & after a suitable time, sell the mount or more usually the skin, elsewhere. Indn mounts are not like majority-culture mounts, but I can always sell a well-tanned skin..
  12. If you had the shots you should be immunized now for life. Shock was from the shots which is one of the side effects although rare, which you may or may not have needed. Its really not sunlight but heat and drying that kills it, its just that people worry about places where rabid animals may have been, porches, grass etc. It is actually an overblown disease and if proper steps all is well. Washing and draining wound are key.
  13. dls

    dls New Member

    Customer has not picked up tanned bobcat yet. I will tell him cash only at this point. I had a customer stop payment on a check a couple
    years ago, what a p.i.t.a. I explained to Vet at the Dept of AG. that I had cut myself while skinning animal and they strongly suggested that I have
    it tested. I had no reason to believe it was rabid. She said why take the chance. I asked about getting skull back and they said no way. I said I would pay any expenses and still said no, that was policy.

    Are the preventative (vaccine) shots still available? My family doctor didn't know anything about them.

    P.S. I should have done like somebody suggested and just get another skull and tell him this is it. He wouldn't know the difference.
  14. jasonb

    jasonb I think I'll keep her

    Next time keep your mouth shut and get a different skull. Most people don't have a clue it's not theirs unless there is a bullet hole or something.
  15. The vaccine is still available but has a short shelf life so it is not stocked everywhere. ER's may have a stock Used to have a list of all the places that stocked it in our state so I could refer a Dr. to the closest source. My buddy got it just for that reason, a big trapper and hunter. Not cheap and price can vary. Many Dr's and Vets knew little about it unless they have dealt with it.
  16. You might want to call your state health dept. That's where I got my pre-exposure vaccines from. All they required was that you work in a job where your chance of exposure is high, like veterinary, animal control, and of course taxidermy, hunting and trapping. It's a series of three (I think) shots over a period of several weeks.

    As for the skulls of suspected animals being confiscated, many years ago I was able to get the skull and cape of a wolf-dog hybrid because I knew someone who worked for animal control. This wolf dog had to be hunted down and killed because it got loose from its owners and mauled and killed several domestic animals. One animal that survived was a cat (don't ask me how - I guess it was darned lucky it got away!), and sometime after I got the cape, someone from animal control called me and asked if I could save some of the brain matter of the wolf dog for testing. The cat's owner I guess hadn't had it vaccinated and they were afraid it might have been exposed. So I scooped out the brain and put it in a plastic container and gave it to animal control. So I guess sometimes they can just use the brain w/o the skull, which was a good thing because that would have really sucked if I had lost that skull.
  17. I have a cat skull I could ship out today if you need one let me know. I should have a cat unwhitened it would be reasonable for you
  18. jeff c

    jeff c Member

    I think your in the wrong! You are getting paid by the customer to do a job and you didnt do it. Lets not foget who we work for.
    I dont know where your from but here in NY bobcats arent easy to kill. Most will never see one and therefor the skull is consider a trophy. Its no differnt if someone brought in a 180 inch 10 pt and you said you lost it. Your in the wrong
  19. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    So tell us all, Jeff C ... you are cutting into an animal and you cut yourself, exposing yourself to the blood and fluids of said dead animal. The thought that the animal may have been harboring rabies occurs to you.

    Tell us, JC, do you man up for the customer finish his work and send it back .. and chance that you will contract rabies within the year or do you contact the disease control folks that will tell you to submit the head for testing.

    Stop being an ass. He wasn't wrong. His only error was in not getting a replacement skull for the customer and that is something that he can still do.
  20. jeff c

    jeff c Member

    Heres your 180 inch ten point(well not really i was a dumb ass and cut myself while skinning and gave it to the department of health to check for diseases so heres a 4 pointer that scores 35 inches. Close enough)
    Go get your rabbies vac. so you dont have to worry about it.
    I'm am shocked that there are so many people on here that think its ok to LIE to thier customers.
    I think that there are a ton of people that have my same opinion they just dont want to get involed.
    But hay if you all want to keep lying and trying to screw your custermers thats fine with me. It will catch up with you and they will soon be spending thier money eleswhere along with all thier friends