Ellijay (GA) - An Ellijay resident fought to protect her Chihuahua from a raccoon attack, and now, she is undergoing post-exposure rabies treatment and her dog is under six-months quarantine.
Gilmer County Environmental Manager Andrea Martin reported that the attack occurred on October 9, 2012 at the pet owner's home on John Call Road in Ellijay.
"The owner intervened in the attack and came in contact with the raccoon's saliva through a skin abrasion on her hand," said Martin. "Since then, the raccoon has tested positive for rabies, so, the owner of the dog is receiving post-exposure rabies treatment."
Because the Chihuahua was "slightly overdue" for its annual rabies vaccination at the time of the attack, Martin required that the dog be given a rabies booster vaccination and quarantined for six months.
Rabies that goes untreated is fatal almost 100 percent of the time.
Health officials urge residents to maintain current rabies vaccinations in their pets, not only for the pets' protection, but to also protect themselves and their families.
"If our pets are not properly vaccinated and are exposed to rabies, then we are next in line for exposure," said Martin, "We must keep those rabies vaccinations current each year."
Another important step in the prevention of rabies exposure is to avoid contact with all unfamiliar animals, both domestic and wild.
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.