LENOIR, NC (December 29) – On December 29, 2021, the North Carolina State Laboratory notified Caldwell County Animal Control that a skunk submitted for testing had contracted rabies — the county’s fourth confirmed case this year.
The skunk, which was found on Power Drive in Granite Falls, was sent for testing after coming into contact with a dog. The dog received a rabies booster vaccine and is monitored for 45 days.
To protect your pets, make sure their rabies vaccinations are up-to-date. Rabies is a viral disease of the central nervous system that is almost always fatal once symptoms appear. The virus is found in the saliva of an animal with rabies and is usually transmitted by a bite or scratch. Rabies is common in North Carolina’s wildlife. Raccoons, foxes, skunks, and bats are the most common vectors of the disease. Because rabies is fatal and can also be transmitted to people, rabies vaccination of dogs and cats is required by law in North Carolina.
People can protect themselves and their pets from rabies by taking a few simple precautions:
- Ensure that all companion animals have the latest rabies vaccinations. They must always wear their license cards.
- Monitor your pets to prevent exposure.
- If a bat is found inside your home, you should contact animal control.
- If your animal has been exposed to a potentially rabid animal, wear gloves to protect yourself from infectious saliva that may be on your animal’s fur.
- Teach your kids to stay away from wild animals, including bats or animals they don’t know.
- Avoid attracting wild animals into your home by removing food sources such as leftovers and removing cat and dog food at night.
Bats and other wild animals are scavengers and search for food sources. It is important to keep all trash containers tightly closed, especially in areas where food disposal is high. This also applies to pet food bowls. When your pet has finished eating, clean the bowl to avoid other animals from getting food, and keep discarded foods out of the animals’ reach to reduce the chance of them coming to your residence or work to look for food.
If there are any questions regarding rabies and/or receiving a rabies vaccination, please call the Caldwell County Department of Health Animal Control at 829 Fairview Drive SW, Lenoir, NC 28645 or call 828-757-8625. If there is an emergency outside of normal business hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, please notify the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office at 828-758-2324.
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