Ellijay (GA) – On June 24, a dog at a Gilmer County farm on Anderson Creek Road, located off Roy Road, fought with a raccoon that has now tested positive for rabies.
The dog was treated for multiple wounds to the face and head sustained during the fight, and the owner was referred to a physician to be evaluated for treatment because he had touched the dog’s wounds where saliva from the raccoon may have been present.
According to Gilmer County Environmental Health Manager Andrea Martin, the dog’s owner had been unable to break up the fight between the animals, so he shot the raccoon and took it to the VCA Appalachian Animal Hospital in East Ellijay. VCA prepared the raccoon for rabies testing and Martin shipped the specimen to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory on June 25. The lab reported the positive results for rabies on June 26.
Martin was pleased to announce that the dog was current on its rabies vaccination, which alleviates concerns about rabies infection in the animal.
“Since the dog's vaccination was current, the only recommendation we had to give was a booster shot and a 45-day observation period,” said Martin. “This is a much better outcome than when we’ve had to recommend either euthanasia or a strict, costly six-month quarantine because a rabies-exposed pet was not vaccinated.”
It is vital that rabies vaccinations are regularly maintained in pets, not only for the safety of pets, but also for the protection of people who may handle them. Health officials recommend that pets receive the first rabies vaccination at 3-months old then another shot one year later. In subsequent years, owners have the option to provide pets with one-year or three-year rabies shots.
For more information about rabies, please contact Gilmer County Environmental Health at (706) 635-6050 or log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov.