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Rabies VirusEllijay (GA) - A six-month old, mixed breed puppy has been euthanized after a rabid raccoon attacked it at a residence on Roy Road in east Gilmer County. The incident occurred about ten miles from the Fannin County line.

No human exposure to the virus occurred.

According to Gilmer County Environmental Health Manager Andrea Martin, the puppy was attacked by the raccoon on the evening of May 8 while the dog sat on the front porch of its owner’s home. The owner shot the raccoon. It was then prepared for rabies testing by VCA Appalachian Animal Hospital.

Martin shipped the specimen to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory on May 9, and the raccoon was reported as positive for rabies on May 10.

The puppy had received its first rabies vaccination on April 20, however, the initial shot takes 28 days to become fully protective; therefore, the dog was considered to be unvaccinated. The owner chose to have the dog euthanized instead of placing it under a six-month quarantine, due to the severity of the dog’s injuries and level of exposure.

 "This is a particularly sad case because the owner did the right thing by having this pet vaccinated against rabies," said Martin. "Unfortunately, the dog was exposed to the disease before the vaccine could take full effect. The only thing any of us can do under this circumstance is to keep our pets from coming into contact with unfamiliar animals until they’ve been vaccinated and the vaccine has had time to reach its full potential."

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