Puppies exposed to rabid skunk in northern part of county



BURLINGTON – The North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health in Raleigh has confirmed Alamance County’s first rabies case for the year. The health department was notified on Thursday that a skunk tested positive for rabies.

The skunk entered a fenced enclosure and was killed by two unvaccinated 11 month old puppies on Mine Creek Road in northern Alamance County. This is the fourth incident in this area over the past year.

“It is unfortunate that these dogs were not currently vaccinated and were destroyed,” said Carl Carroll, Environmental Health Director for the Alamance County Health Department.  “It is extremely important for all dog and cat owners to keep their pets rabies vaccinations up to date.”

Over the past two years, 11 dogs have been euthanized after being exposed to a rabid animal due to owner not keeping their rabies vaccinations up to date.

According to the health department, yesterday’s case was the 116th case since 1997.  All county residents should be aware of this and take proper precautions.

Once the rabies virus enters the body, such as through a bite from an animal that has rabies, it travels along the nerves to the brain and depending on the individual dog it could only be several weeks or it could be six months before the dog shows signs of rabies.

Rabies is almost always fatal once it manifests itself. There are shots that humans can get once they have an exposure to rabies, but those shots are very expensive.

The shots for dogs and cats are normally less than $20 at most veterinarian offices. These shots must be kept up to date, otherwise if the dog or cat is exposed to a known or expected rabid animal, North Carolina Law requires that the dog or cat be euthanized or quarantined for six months at an approved animal control facility or a veterinarian’s office at the owner’s expense.

It is very important that people are vigilant in making sure that their dogs and cats have current vaccinations for rabies and stay away from stray and wild animals that may carry rabies.  If someone is bitten by an animal they should immediately wash the wound with warm water and soap and seek medical attention and call their local animal control or the health department.

For more information or questions about rabies control and vaccinations requirements, contact the health department’s Environmental Health office at (336) 570-6367.