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'A time-sensitive matter': Rabid raccoon attack in Macon shows importance of keeping pets safe from rabies

If you believe your pet has come in contact with an infected animal, call animal control and the health department as soon as possible. Infection can lead to death

MACON, Ga. — If your pet doesn't have their rabies shot, the State Department of Public Health says this is your reminder.

According to Georgia law, all domesticated dogs and cats must get their yearly rabies booster shot administered by a licensed veterinarian. 

On Thursday, they reported a raccoon in the Lakeside Hills neighborhood of Macon tested positive for rabies. 

Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare says the raccoon attacked a dog in the neighborhood, and the dog will be monitored for 45 days to see if it's infected.

The virus can be transmitted through an infected animal's saliva through a bite or scratch, so remember not to hold or feed wild animals. You should remind your kids as well.

Cson Johnson, assistant manager of Macon Bibb Animal Enforcement, says if you think your pet has been infected by a wild animal, seek help right away.

"If you suspect your animal has come in contact with wildlife, please reach out to animal control or the health department as soon as possible. It's a time-sensitive matter, and we want to be able to help you as soon as possible," Johnson says.

If you were to get bitten, you'll want to take that seriously, too. Symptoms of rabies in humans can include fever, headache, and fatigue, which progress into hallucinations, paralysis, and fear of water. Death usually comes days after. 

Johnson says for folks who live in areas with lots of wildlife and want extra protection for their pets or kids, the Department of Natural Resources website has many tips on safe prevention options.

A Georgia rabies control manual is also available for download on the Department of Health Environmental website.

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