On August 25 in Gilmer County, two male mixed-breed Labrador Retrievers fought and killed a raccoon that was later confirmed as positive for carrying the rabies virus.
Gilmer County Environmental Health Manager Andrea Martin said, “The incident took place five miles out Chatsworth Highway in the vicinity of Gates Chapel Road.”
The raccoon was prepared for rabies testing by the VCA Appalachian Animal Hospital in East Ellijay on August 26, and then Martin shipped the specimen to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory. The positive test result for rabies was reported on August 28.
Martin stated that, of the two dogs, only one is current on its rabies vaccination. For the vaccinated dog, the recommendation is that it be revaccinated and it is required that the dog be observed at home for 45 days. However, the second dog is not vaccinated and is over 10 years old; therefore, the owner is going to have it euthanized.
No human exposure was reported in this incident.
Health officials urge residents to maintain current rabies vaccinations in their pets.
Martin expressed her gratitude for the ongoing support of VCA Appalachian Animal Hospital and the Gilmer County Animal Shelter as they partner with local environmental health in addressing rabies issues in the county.
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.