Protecting your pets against rabies after rabid skunk in Walker County

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WALKER COUNTY, Georgia (WDEF)-  Health officials want to remind people of the potential dangers of rabies after a skunk in Walker county tested positive.

“Do not Approach wild animals.  Don’t try to make them pets especially raccoons,” said Environmental Health Manager Jason Osgatharp.

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A skunk in Walker county has tested positive for animal rabies. This is the first confirmed animal rabies case in Walker County for 2021 and the first since 2014. Health officials said even though it’s not something the area sees very often rabies is dangerous.

“Rabies is a virus,  unfortunately that people don’t think about as often and some other viruses. But that doesn’t mean it’s not there lurking in the wildlife population of animals. Every now and again your pets do come in contact with those wild mammals and we just need to raise awareness of the rabies virus is still out there and keep your pets vaccinated,” said Osgatharp.

He said rabies can happen in several different wild life animals such as skunks, bats or raccoons. He advises staying away from wild life even if it appears to be safe.

“Any wild animal should not be approached or handled in anyway,” said Osgatharp.

He offered several ways as how to protect yourself as well as your animals.

“We are to everyone to keep their pets vaccinated and boosted for rabies. We also strongly encourage owners of livestock, we have a large farming community lots of livestock in the area so those big Animals don’t need to be forgotten,” said Osgatharp.

If you or your pet come in contact with an animal that might have rabies contact your health department or doctor immediately.