Catawba County News

Eleventh Case of Rabies Confirmed in Catawba County

Eleventh Case of Rabies Confirmed in Catawba County

Published: October 09, 2018

Catawba County Animal Services has confirmed the eleventh case of rabies in the county this year. Previous cases reported this year by Catawba County occurred in Maiden, Vale, Newton, Hickory, Sherrills Ford and Claremont.

On October 6, Catawba County Animal Services responded to a call from a Catawba resident whose dog came into contact with a skunk. The skunk was sent to the North Carolina Public Health Laboratory in Raleigh, which notified Animal Services October 9 that the skunk tested positive for rabies.

The dog received a rabies booster after the incident occurred and is being kept under home observation for a 45-day period per state guidelines.

“The number of confirmed rabies cases varies from year to year based on how many incidents of rabies exposure occur,” said Mark Pettit, Catawba County Assistant Emergency Services Director. “Higher case numbers do not indicate a rise in the incidence of rabies in the wild animal population. Rabies is present year-round in wildlife, such as skunks, raccoons, foxes and bats. Exposure to rabid animals tends to increase in warmer months when animals and people are outdoors more often.”

Signs that an animal may be infected with rabies include loss of appetite, irritability and unusual aggression, lack of fear and restlessness, dilated pupils, seizures, trembling and unsteadiness, difficulty swallowing, and drooling or foaming at the mouth. People who encounter an animal with any of these symptoms should avoid contact with the animal and report it to Catawba County Animal Services at (828) 464-7686. Pet owners who suspect their pet had contact with a rabid animal are also urged to call Animal Services.

Animal Services reminds pet owners that rabies is a threat to pets and humans year-round. The best way to protect pets is to have them properly vaccinated for rabies.