A female pit bull dog was potentially exposed to rabies in a raccoon found dead at a home on Rockingham Way in the Coosawattee River Resort Subdivision near Ellijay.raccoon

On the morning of August 18, the homeowner awoke to find her female dog in close proximity to the dead raccoon. Gilmer County Environmental Health officials later found puncture marks on the raccoon, which they believe were made by the dog in a confrontation with the animal. The raccoon tested positive for rabies on August 20, and since the pit bull was not current on its rabies vaccination, the owner was supposed to have decided whether to have the dog euthanized or placed in a state-mandated quarantine for six months. However, the dog has now been killed by lightning, so no further action is required.

There was no human exposure to the raccoon.

“The main lesson to learn is that we must keep our families and pets safe by maintaining rabies vaccinations in our domestic animals,” stated Andrea Wheeler, Gilmer County Environmental Health Manager. “Rabies is a deadly disease, and no one ever wants to have to make that heart wrenching decision to have their pet put down because they failed to provide its vaccination.”

Ms. Wheeler added as a reminder to area residents that ten dollar rabies shots will be offered on Saturday, August 29 from 12 to 3 p.m. at the new Gilmer County Animal Shelter located at 4152 Highway 52 East. The Appalachian Animal Hospital will sponsor this clinic and Gilmer County Environmental Health officials will assist.

For more information about the clinic, call (706) 635-2166. For more information regarding rabies and its prevention, log onto www.cdc.gov.

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