• 59°

Possibly rabid raccoon reported

People in the Carrollton area should be on the lookout for a possibly rabid raccoon that has attacked and killed a cat and attacked a dog.

The Isle of Wight Health Department was notified Thursday of the raccoon, according to a press release from the Western Tidewater Health District. It was observed acting strangely and aggressively in the Windmere View area of the Carisbrooke subdivision.

The raccoon attacked and killed a cat, the press release stated. Later, a raccoon in the same vicinity attacked a small dog.

The raccoon is still at large, the press release stated, and while it cannot be confirmed, the raccoon’s behavior is consistent with symptoms of rabies.

Isle of Wight Animal Control has set traps, according to the release.

If the raccoon does have rabies, it will become sicker and die within a few days. In the meantime, area residents should bring their pets inside or ensure they are in a secure enclosure.

If pets display signs of having been in a fight, pet owners should contact the health department. Human contact with a wild animal or any strange-acting wildlife should always be reported to Animal Control.

Exposure of humans to rabies occurs when the salive of an infected animal enters the body through an open wound or mucous membrane, such as with an animal bite. Prompt evaluation and complete treatment of any animal bite is critical. Rabies is highly preventable if the vaccine is given early and as recommended. However, by the time someone develops symptoms of rabies, there is no cure, and the disease is fatal in almost 100 percent of cases. It is also fatal in infected dogs and cats that are not vaccinated.

Residents can take the following steps to protect their families and pets from rabies:

  • If your pet has been in contact with an animal that might be rabid, contact your local animal control or health department.
  • Seek medical treatment promptly for any animal bite to ensure appropriate and timely evaluation and treatment. All animal exposures must be taken seriously.
  • Do not approach wild or stray animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, cats and dogs.
  • Ensure all pet dogs, cats and ferrets have current rabies vaccinations. Consult your veterinarian, animal control or health department if you have questions. State law requires all dogs and cats over the age of 4 months to be vaccinated against rabies.
  • Confine your pets to your property.
  • Securely seal garbage containers with lids.