Family dog fought raccoon, tests positive for rabies


ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – A family dog that fought with a raccoon and later began showing signs of rabies infection had to be euthanized.

The dog, which was not up-to-date on his rabies vaccinations, tested positive for rabies. As a precautionary measure, two people who were exposed to the dog are undergoing preventative treatment for rabies.

The incident happened in West Point Plantation on St. Simons Island.

"A lot of wild animals that are native to our area – like raccoons and foxes – are known carriers of rabies," said Erin Doane, Glynn County's assistant environmental health manager. "That's why it is so important to make sure that pets are vaccinated against the virus."

Rabies is a potentially deadly virus that is primarily spread by infected animals. Symptoms of rabies in animals include a change in behavior, biting, aggression, showing no fear of natural enemies (such as humans), foaming at the mouth, and paralysis. The Glynn County Health Department Environmental Health Division offers these tips to protect you and your family from rabies:

  • Avoid contact with animals you don't know.
  • Make sure your pets receive the proper immunizations. Dogs and cats should get rabies vaccines by four months of age, followed by a booster shot one year later, and another one every one to three years as prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving pet food out at night.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or a properly licensed animal rescue agency for assistance.
  • Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. "Love your own, leave other animals alone" is a good principle for children to learn.

If an animal ever bites you, seek medical care immediately and contact Glynn County Animal Control at 912-554-7500 and the Glynn County Health Department Environmental Health Division at 912-279-2940.