FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WUSA) - Fairfax County Animal Control Officers are reminding pet owners and residents to be aware of instances of rabies in the area.
Last week, Animal Control Officers report that they responded to a report of a family dog that fought with a raccoon in his own wooded back yard in Fairfax Station. The dog killed the raccoon, and laboratory tests indicated the animal had rabies.
In this case, the pet dog was up-to-date on his shots. He was given a booster shot to prevent any other health complications, officials said.
Police and health officials said that similar incidents take place every week in the county. The two rare, more unusual cases recently that involved rabid beavers, brought attention to the situation, and residents learned more about rabies through exposure to those incidents.
So far in 2012, officials say that there have been reports of 35 rabid animals in Fairfax County; 19 raccoons, five skunks, five bats, three foxes, two beavers and a cat. In 2011, there were a total of 41.
Officials offered rabies awareness reminders:
• Keep all cats and dogs current on their rabies vaccination (required at 4 months old)
• Report sick or injured wildlife
• Rabid animals may appear clumsy; they may walk in circles or stumble into inanimate objects.
• Just because an animal is seen during the day, does not mean that it is rabid.
• Keep pets secure and on leash to minimize potential exposure
• Don't feed pets outside as this attracts wildlife
• Don't feed wildlife (mammals) and keep trash secured.
• Fairfax County averages about 50 positive rabies cases each year with the prime carrier (vector) being raccoons.
• Fairfax County follows up with all positive rabies tests by educating the public (local Community) through mailings and a canvass.
• For further information on rabies contact the Health Department or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.