Second rabid raccoon found in Palm Beach County

A second rabid raccoon has been identified after it bit a dog Saturday in a neighborhood east of Jog Road between Belvedere and Southern Boulevards, the Palm Beach Health Department said Wednesday.

The owner of a 1-year-old Yorkie named Lola was walking the dog when the raccoon attacked. A neighbor witnessed the attack and assisted the owner in separating the animals and killing the raccoon. Animal Care and Control was notified and sent the deceased raccoon for testing. Lola sustained bites and was treated by a local veterinarian.

The Palm Beach County Health Department is still investigating any possible human exposure in the incident and advised the owner to keep the dog in home quarantine/observation for 45 days as a precaution since it was up to date with its rabies vaccines.

Animal Care and Control has placed informational flyers in the neighborhood where the bite took place.

An animal with rabies could infect other wild animals or domestic animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies. All domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies and all wildlife contact should be avoided, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes.

Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm blooded animals and humans. The only treatment for human exposure to rabies is rabies specific immune globulin and rabies immunization. Appropriate treatment started soon after the exposure will protect an exposed person from the disease.

The health department has the following advice for pet owners:

•Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.

•Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Animal Care & Control at 561-233-1200.

•Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.

•Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.

•Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.

•Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.

•Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.

• Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas, where they might come in contact with people and pets.

For further information on rabies, go to the Florida Department of Health website at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/medicine/rabies/rabies-index.html or contact the Health Department, http://www.pbchd.com, 561-671-4184. Animals exhibiting signs of sickness and aggressive behavior should be reported to Animal Care and Control at 561-233-1200.

Copyright © 2012, South Florida Sun-Sentinel


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