Woman treated for rabies after dogs mauled - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Woman treated for rabies after dogs mauled

LEESBURG, GA (WALB) - Health officials and veterinarians have a warning for pet owners after a rabies scare in Lee County.

Several dogs and cats had to be euthanized after a dog tested positive for rabies.

"It had this wild look in his eyes." Lee County Animal control officer Jackie Grigg recalls seeing the rabies infected dog for the first time.

"When we went to get him, he was very calm. He didn't make eye contact, or nothing. He just sat there with his head down. But once he was in the cage it completely changed then," explained Grigg.

Grigg says they responded to a call about a dog fight near Society Street in Leesburg March 20th.

"It was a call that came in from a man who was walking his own dogs down an alley and he seen three dogs on a smaller dog, just mauling it," said Grigg.

A man turned the dog over to animal control officers and it was taken to the Leesburg Animal Hospital.

"By the time they got it into the holding pen, where it had to be quarantined, the dog had went ballistic. I mean it was really bad," said Grigg.

McKenzie Knight, who recently adopted that dog and another one, already had a Chiweenie and two cats. Her boyfriend also had a Shepard mix. All six animals and a stray had to be euthanized because none had rabies vaccinations.

"We couldn't take the chance of keeping these animals," said Grigg.

Veterinarians say not only does the rabies vaccine protect your pet, it's the law and documentation is necessary.

"if it's not written down, if it's not recorded, it's not been done when it comes to following the law on rabies vaccine," said Dr. Fred Freeland, the President and Veterinarian at Albany Pet Partners.

Knight is also being treated for rabies after she was bitten by one of the dogs. No one was at the home on Society Street today and it's not clear where she adopted the two dogs from.

A veterinarian at Leesburg Animal Hospital said the dog's head was sent away so its brain could be tested for rabies and that test came back positive earlier this week.

Neighbors in the area were also advised to keep their pets under quarantine at home for 45 days.

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Southwest Public Health District released this statement:

Public Health official warns area residents to take precautions against rabies

 

            ALBANY, GA—Good intentions turned into tragedy when a Southwest Georgia resident using an on-line service adopted a dog that turned out to have rabies – and the person's existing pets didn't have up-to-date vaccinations, said Southwest Health District Environmental Health Director Dewayne Tanner.

“As a result, this well-intentioned individual ended up losing beloved pets that had been exposed and could not be saved,” he said. “That was not an outcome anybody wanted.” Further, when animals with rabies bite or scratch people, they face unpleasant and expensive prophylaxis treatment.

Tanner cautioned that it is not unusual to see positive rabies cases occasionally in the 14-county Southwest Health District. “Wild animals that are known to harbor the disease include raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, bobcats and coyotes,” he said. “When they come into contact with strays or unvaccinated pets, they can pass the infection.”

During the spring, more wild animals are stirring and more people and pets are spending time outdoors – increasing the potential for rabies exposure.

“The best protection against rabies is to vaccinate your pets and livestock,” Tanner said. “We don't recommend that you interact with wild animals or strays, especially if they are showing odd behavior – such as being out during daytime or acting aggressively.”

People bitten by wild animals or strays should seek immediate medical attention and contact their county health department and local animal control and/or law enforcement. “They should not attempt to catch the animal themselves,” Tanner stressed. “The authorities will handle that so that it can be tested for rabies.”

            Rabies is fatal in humans if untreated, but almost 100% preventable in humans when prompt action is taken.

            Dogs and cats three months old and older should be vaccinated against rabies. Pet ferrets should also receive rabies inoculations, as should valuable livestock, Tanner said.

            For more information about rabies, contact your local health department or go on-line to

www.southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org.


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