Cherokee County Environmental Health officials announced today that the fourth raccoon in Cherokee County since May has tested positive for rabies, and an unvaccinated horse must undergo a six-month quarantine.
Environmental Health Specialist Glendon Gordy stated that on Saturday, July 23, a raccoon was found with a horse in the horse's stall at a residence on North Lake Drive in Canton. The raccoon was alive but not moving, and the resident's son shot it.
The head of the raccoon was sent to the Georgia State Laboratory for rabies testing on Monday, July 25, and the positive result was returned to local health officials on Wednesday, July 27.
Since an inspection of the horse showed no obvious signs of exposure, it is unclear as to whether the horse came into contact with the raccoon. However, the horse was not current on its rabies vaccination; therefore, a more thorough examination will be conducted by a veterinarian and the horse will be given a rabies shot. Also, the horse will be quarantined for six months.
In addition to the four raccoons, other animals in Cherokee County that have tested positive for rabies this year include a dog and, most recently, a fox.
Health officials continue to urge residents to protect against rabies by maintaining rabies vaccinations in their pets, and they also warn residents to be wary of any unfamiliar animals, especially those displaying sickly or unusual behavior.
For more information about rabies and its prevention, please call the Cherokee County Environmental Health Office at (770) 479-0444. General information about rabies can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov.