A veterinarian in Shelby County, Alabama has confirmed a case of rabies in a raccoon that bit a dog.
Rabies is a deadly viral disease that infects the brain and spinal cord of mammals. The virus is spread from exposure to saliva or nervous tissue from an infected animal (in Alabama most likely a raccoon), usually through a bite.
Rabies is preventable if proper treatment is given before symptoms occur, but is fatal once symptoms are present. Any bite or scratch from an animal should be checked by a physician and reported to the county health department.
Dogs, cats, and ferrets that bite or scratch a person will be required to undergo quarantine for a period of 10 days. The observation for clinical signs of rabies developing in the animal during the quarantine provides complete assurance for the person bitten or scratched that the animal did not infect the person from the bite. Unlike pets, wildlife species that bite or scratch cannot be quarantined because they may shed the virus longer than 10 days. Rabies tests can be performed in the laboratory on deceased animals that do not qualify for quarantine.
Every dog, cat and ferret over 3 months of age in Alabama is required to have a rabies vaccine by Alabama state law. Contact Valleydale Animal Clinic to keep your pet protected!