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Oakland County identifies two animal rabies cases

Public Date: 5/18/2010 12:00 AM
Contact: Joanie Toole, Animal Control Supervisor
Phone Number: 248-393-3572

Auburn Hills, MI, May 18, 2010 – Two recent cases of rabies in Oakland County are prompting Oakland County Animal Control Division to remind pet owners to have their pets vaccinated against the disease and for residents to be cautious around wild or stray animals.

A skunk found in the City of Royal Oak was tested May 14th for rabies after it displayed neurological symptoms common to the disease. Oakland County Animal Control Division was notified May 17th that the skunk tested positive for rabies.

Another recent case involved a dog in the Southfield area that returned home with an injury, became ill and had to be euthanized. The dog tested positive for a rabies strain found in skunks.

Rabies is an infectious disease that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals, according to the Oakland County Health Division. People and unvaccinated animals get rabies from the bite of an infected animal or if saliva from the animal gets directly into a person’s eyes, nose, mouth or any break in the skin. Vaccine is given to at risk individuals to prevent the disease. Rabies is nearly always fatal if not treated after exposure.

“This is why it is so important to have your family pets vaccinated for rabies.” Lawrence Obrecht, division manager of Oakland County Animal Control said. “Cats, dogs, and even horses have the potential of coming into contact with wild life. Skunks and bats are known carriers of rabies and should be avoided. Keeping your pets vaccines up-to-date ensures your pet is protected.”

Follow these tips to prevent rabies:

• Never handle a wild animal like a bat, raccoon, skunk or fox.
• Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
• Prevent bats and raccoons from entering homes or spaces where people and pets may be present.
• Keep vaccinations current for dogs, cats and ferrets. Keep cats and ferrets inside and dogs under direct supervision.  Consider having your pets spayed or neutered.
• If bitten by a wild/stray animal, quarantine the animal if possible. Call the local animal control to assist with trapping, testing and/or observation of the animal.  Animal control may also assist with removing stray or wild animals from your yard, home or neighborhood regardless of a bite.
• Wash animal bites thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.

These two rabies cases come on the heels of the Oakland Pet Adoption Center’s annual rabies clinic, which will be held 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. May 22nd at the Oakland Pet Adoption Center located at 1700 Brown Road in Auburn Hills.

“In one easy step you can protect your pet and comply with Michigan state law,” said Joanie Toole, administrative supervisor of the Oakland Pet Adoption Center. “Dog licenses are due June 1st and the Oakland Pet Adoption Center will be hosting their annual rabies clinic. A one year rabies vaccine is available for $7.50 and you can also pick up your dog license for as low $7.50.”

Dog licenses are $7.50 for spayed or neutered dogs or $15.00 for intact dogs. Senor citizen discounts are available. On June 2 licenses become $30.00. For more information please call the Center at 248-391-4100.

For more information about rabies, visit the Oakland County Health Division website at www.oakgov.com/health or call the Nurse on Call at 248-858-1406.

For media inquiries only, please contact Joanie Toole, Animal Control Supervisor, at 248-393-3572.​