Rabid raccoon attacks dog

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A raccoon that attacked and bit a 65-pound dog named Champ was rabid, Palm Beach County health officials said Monday

Champ was attacked and bitten Thursday by the raccoon on Caloosa Boulevard near Bee Line Highway. Animal Care and Control was notified and sent the deceased raccoon for testing. Champ sustained bites on the leg and was treated by a local veterinarian with a rabies booster shot and antibiotics.

The Palm Beach County Health Department is recommending the dog remain in strict quarantine for 180 days as it was not current with its rabies vaccination when attacked.

The health department is reminding people that rabies is active in this area. 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 is offering the following advice for pet owners, especially those living close to areas where there is a lot of wildlife:

•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.

For more information on rabies, go to the Florida Department of Health website or contact the Health Department , 561-671-4184. Animals exhibiting signs of sickness and aggressive behavior should be reported to Animal Care and Control at 561-233-1200.

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