Friday, September 6, 2019
Atlantic County health officials remind residents of the importance of vaccinating their pets after it reported the county’s fifth case of rabies this year found in a skunk collected from the 1200 block of 14th Avenue in Weymouth Township.
According to officials, a homeowner found a dead skunk on its property where the homeowner’s two dogs have access. The skunk was collected by animal control and sent to the state lab for testing where it was confirmed positive for rabies on September 3.
An investigation by the Atlantic County Division of Public Health could not determine if the dogs had been exposed. Both dogs were current on their vaccinations. As a precautionary measure, however, they each will receive a booster vaccination and be placed on a 45-day informal confinement. Had their vaccinations not been current, their confinement could have been four months.
“This is another example of the importance of vaccinating your pets against rabies that also helps protect family members from contracting the disease from an infected pet,” stated Patricia Diamond, Atlantic County Public Health Officer.
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 is scheduled for Sunday, October 13, from 9 AM to 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. Rabies is a viral disease that can be fatal if left untreated. Rabies has been previously confirmed this year in two raccoons and two bats.
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. All bites should be reported 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.