Ga. veterinarian warns of rabies cases

Oct. 7, 2012 at 9:17 PM
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CANTON, Ga., Oct. 7 (UPI) -- A veterinarian in Canton, Ga., says she is concerned about the number of domestic animals and people coming into contact with the rabies virus.

"Recently in the local area, a rabid cat scratched a woman. The cat died two days later, but the woman was able to get on anti-rabies treatment immediately thereafter," Dr. Michele Stewart, a veterinarian at Acres Mill Veterinary Clinic in Canton, said in a statement. "In another case, a woman brought an infected stray kitten home. The kitten had contact with several people who are now being treated."

Stewart said pet owners need to ensure their animals are current on their vaccinations and she urged them to call their animal hospital immediately if they are unsure of their pet's vaccinations.

"Prevention is the absolute key with rabies," Stewart said. "Vaccinations are one of those pet services that are simply essential to preventing this horrible, deadly disease."

Anyone who has been bitten by any animal, including common rabies carriers such as raccoons, bats, skunks, strays and foxes should seek medical attention immediately.

Treatment consists of an immediate immunoglobulin shot and a course of rabies shots over 14 days, Stewart said.

However, she also advised bringing pets to an animal hospital for an evaluation if they are bitten by a wild animal, regardless of their immunization status.

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