*UPDATE, 12/13/12: IT HAS NOW BEEN DECIDED THAT ONLY ONE OF THE THREE DOGS MENTIONED IN THIS ARTICLE WILL BE EUTHANIZED. THE OTHER TWO DOGS WILL BE QUARANTINED FOR 6 MONTHS.
Blue Ridge (GA) - Fannin County Environmental Health officials announced today that three Morganton dogs were exposed to a raccoon, which has now been confirmed as positive for rabies. The dogs' owner may have been exposed, as well.
Environmental Health Specialist Shannon Bradburn said a local veterinary office called him on December 10 to report they were treating three dogs for wounds received the day before in a fight with a raccoon at a residence on Old Dial Road in Morganton. The veterinary office advised that none of the dogs were current on their rabies vaccinations.
The dogs' owner had intervened in the fight by killing the raccoon, and in the process, the man received a cut to his hand.
Bradburn immediately arranged for the raccoon to be picked up and shipped to the state lab and was notified on December 11 that the raccoon tested positive for rabies.
*Consequently, the decision was made to have the three unvaccinated dogs euthanized and their owner has begun post rabies exposure treatment.
Additionally, Fannin County Environmental Health staff are canvassing the area near the Old Dial Road residence and are handing out pamphlets regarding actions to take in case of potential rabies exposure.
Rabies that goes untreated is fatal almost 100 percent of the time.
According to Raymond King, Director of Environmental Health for the North Georgia Health District, "Even the most trivial bite or scratch from a rabies-infected animal can transmit the rabies virus and warrants post exposure treatment; therefore, if you think it's even possible that exposure to a rabid animal has occurred to you or your pet, call your healthcare provider or veterinarian immediately."
Health officials also urge residents to protect against rabies by maintaining current rabies vaccinations in their pets and by avoiding contact with all unfamiliar animals, both domestic and wild.
For more information about rabies, please contact Fannin County Environmental Health at (706) 632-3024, or log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov.