Any vet tech who has to perform animal decapitations of possibly positive rabid animals will tell you that this part of being a vet tech is the absolute hardest next to euthanasia. The whole rabies deal is bad to start with, knowing that someone, maybe even a small child, may have to take rabies shots. They are painful and the fear that rabies will cause death is always imminent until the whole thing is over. The hardest part for the vet tech involved is having to be the one who performs the DHEC preparation of the animal’s head.Not every vet tech has this grisly task because it may be the veterinarian who performs it. In some states, the decapitation can only be performed by a licensed DHEC employee. However, the task does fall to the vet tech a lot of the time.
My Scalpel and Hacksaw, Please
Anyone who links a scalpel to a hacksaw automatically thinks about horror movies. But for the vet tech who is in charge of a decapitation for DHEC’s rabies control, these are just the tools of the trade. The whole point in taking off an animal’s head is if that animal bit someone while not being up to date on it’s rabies vaccine. Rabies is a virus that attacks and localizes in the brain, so hence, the whole ‘off with the head’ procedure. The head is then packed into a box and kept cold, not frozen, until it reaches it’s destination for rabies testing, which entails taking out the brain and taking thin slices to exam under a microscope. Although this may sound like a part of one of the worst low budget horror movies ever made, it is a very important part in saving both human and animal lives from the virus rabies.
For more information about rabies and rabies control, please visit:http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/