A raccoon diagnosed with rabies Tuesday became the first case of the disease reported in Orange County in 2018.
The raccoon was reported to have been in the vicinity of Old Greensboro Road and Bowden Road, said Orange County Animal Services authorities. Two people heard their dog barking in a pasture. When they investigated, they found their dog nipping at the ears of an immobile raccoon. They shot the raccoon and called Animal Control to have it removed and tested for rabies.
The dog received a booster rabies vaccination, while another dog in the home also was given a booster because of potential secondary exposure to the disease. Two donkeys and two goats that also were in the pasture may have been exposed and their care falls under the responsibility of the N.C. Department of Agriculture.
When there is “a reasonable suspicion of exposure,” a dog, cat, or ferret with a valid vaccination history must receive a booster shot within four days. By contrast, an unvaccinated animal must either be destroyed or quarantined for a period up to four months.
The species most susceptible to rabies exposure from raccoons are dogs and cats, groundhogs, skunks, and foxes.
There were nine positive rabies cases last year in Orange County, up from six during 2016.
If there is any possibility of exposure to rabies, contact Animal Control Services through Emergency Communications (9-1-1).
Orange County Animal Services will be host a low-cost rabies vaccination clinic on today at the Animal Services Center on Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill from 5-7 p.m.
These clinics ensure that cats and dogs are current on their vaccinations, while providing pet owners with substantial savings on rabies vaccinations.
The clinic will offer one-year and three-year vaccinations for $10. Pet owners will need to have a previous rabies certification in hand to receive the 3-year vaccine. A tag alone is not sufficient.