Friday, October 13, 2017
Atlantic County health officials are reminding residents of the importance of protecting their pets with a rabies vaccination after the county’s third case of rabies was confirmed on October 13 in a dead raccoon found on a property in the 600 block of Woodland Avenue in Absecon.
The raccoon was found by the property owners in the back yard after they let their three dogs outside. The raccoon was sent to the state lab for testing where is was confirmed positive for rabies.
An investigation by the Atlantic County Division of Public Health could not determine if the raccoon was killed by the dogs. Although none of the dogs had visible wounds, possible exposure could not be ruled out.
Fortunately, the dogs were vaccinated, but they will receive a rabies booster and be placed under a 45-day observation as per state guidelines.
This is the county’s third case of rabies in Atlantic County this year. Prior cases involved a domestic cat in Egg Harbor Township and a fox in Galloway. Atlantic County had a total of 10 rabies cases last year involving 4 raccoons, 3 cats, 2 bats and a skunk. Rabies is a viral disease that is fatal if left untreated. Pet owners are advised to protect their pets with a rabies vaccination.
The Atlantic County Animal Shelter provides a free rabies vaccination clinic for dogs and cats once a month at 240 Old Turnpike Road in Pleasantville. The next clinic will be held on Sunday, October 15, 9-11 AM. Dogs must be brought on leashes and cats in carriers. For more information call (609) 485-2345 or visit www.aclink.org/animalshelter.
Dogs and cats who receive an initial rabies vaccination are not considered immunized until 28 days after the vaccine has been administered, therefore it is strongly recommended that any animal newly vaccinated or those too young to receive the vaccine (less than three months) not be left outdoors unattended. Situations have arisen where pet owners have left unvaccinated or newly vaccinated pets outdoors where they have sustained exposures to known or suspect rabid animals, resulting in euthanasia or four to six months strict confinement.
Public health officials also advise residents to teach your children to stay away from wild, stray or aggressive animals.
Never feed or touch wild animals or try to keep them as pets.
If you are bitten by an animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water and seek medical attention. Report all animal bites to the Atlantic County Division of Public Health at 609-645-5971.
For more information about rabies control and precautions to protect your family and your pets, please visit the county web site at www.aclink.org/publichealth or call 609-645-5971.