Rabid raccoon found dead

Published 10:20 pm Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Two dogs will be in isolation for six months after they were found near a dead raccoon that eventually tested positive for rabies.

The raccoon was found in the yard of a residence in the Sleepy Lake area. The resident’s dogs were next to the raccoon when it was found. Because the dogs were not current on their rabies vaccinations, they will have to be held in quarantine.

The dogs’ confinement will be in a specially-designed, double-walled pen at their owner’s home approved by the Health Department. In contrast, had they been vaccinated, they would only have to be confined to their own property or on a leash for 45 days.

Email newsletter signup

Exposure of humans to rabies occurs when the saliva of an infected animal enters the body through an open wound or mucous membrane, such as with an animal bite.

“An animal exposure is a serious medical event, for which prompt evaluation and complete treatment is critical,” said Dr. Nancy Welch, health director for the Western Tidewater Health District. “Rabies is highly preventable if vaccine is given early and as recommended. Unfortunately, without preventive treatment, by the time someone develops symptoms of rabies, there is no cure and the disease is fatal in almost 100 percent of cases.”

The disease is also fatal in domestic dogs and cats that have not been vaccinated.

The health department recommends the following steps for Suffolk residents to take in protecting themselves and their pets from rabies:

  • If your pet has been in contact with an animal that might be rabid, contact the Suffolk Animal Control at 514-7855 or the Suffolk Health Department at 514-4751.
  • Seek medical treatment promptly for any animal bite.
  • Do not approach wild or stray animals, especially bats, foxes, raccoons, skunks, opossums, cats and dogs.
  • Ensure all pet dogs, cats and ferrets have current rabies vaccinations. State law requires all dogs and cats over the age of four months to be vaccinated against rabies.
  • Confine your pets to your property.
  • Securely seal garbage containers with lids.