County's third rabies case confirmed after raccoon attacks dog

A rabid raccoon attacked a dog on Monday, March 19, making it the third confirmed case of rabies in White County this year.

Sean Sullivan, the county’s environmental health manager, said the most recent incident happened on Frank Black Road, which is northeast of Asbestos Road. The attack involved the family’s pet beagle.

“The dog’s owners heard something in the crawlspace of their house around lunchtime,” he said. “During their investigation of the noise, the raccoon bit the homeowner’s dog on the nose and would not let go. They were able to separate the dog and the raccoon and put the raccoon down (killed it).

“The homeowners stated that the raccoon appeared sick and was acting odd. The dog was taken immediately to the vet, and the vet reported the incident to White County Environmental Health.”

Sullivan shipped the animal’s brain tissue to the Georgia Public Health Lab in Decatur, which confirmed on Thursday, March 22, that the raccoon was infected with rabies.

The dog was current on its rabies vaccinations, but received a precautionary booster shot.

All three of White County’s rabies cases so far this year have occurred in the same general area, within a few miles of Asbestos Road. The other two incidents were on Willett Drive and Ray Pardue Road.

Also, all three cases involved dog-versus-raccoon confrontations, and the raccoons were unusually aggressive and tenacious.

Sullivan said all White County residents who own dogs or cats are urged to get their pets vaccinated immediately if they have not already done so. An unvaccinated pet who is exposed to rabies must be either euthanized or placed in a very strict (and expensive) six-month quarantine.

For more information about rabies, call Environmental Health at 706-348-7698.

White County News

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