Stray dog tests positive for rabies in Houston County

Staff reportMay 22, 2013 

A pit bull mix that bit a person in the face in the Shamrock Circle neighborhood off Dunbar Road in north Houston County has tested positive for rabies, according to a Wednesday news release from the Houston County Health Department.

It’s the first rabies case in a domestic animal in Houston County in 2013, the release states.

“It is extremely unusual to see a domestic animal test positive for rabies. Typically, we see rabies more so in wild animals,” Christine Buffington, environmental health manager for the Houston County Health Department, said in the release. “We have been told that this dog was previously friendly and wandered the neighborhood. Because of this, there is a strong possibility that many people had contact with this animal.”

The health department urges residents in the area to take precautions. Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of infected animals, so those who may have been bitten or come in contact with the dog’s saliva are encouraged to contact their doctor to determine if treatment is necessary.

Animals -- dogs and cats -- that may have come in contact with the dog should be vaccinated for rabies, even if they already have been vaccinated, the release states. Pet owners should contact their veterinarian immediately if their animal displays unusual behavior.

The stray dog is described as a brown-and-white female pit bull mix. It has been euthanized since the bite May 16, according to an email from Carla D. Coley, district environmental health director for the North Central Health District.

The health department will distribute informational fliers to neighborhood residents.

The spread of rabies can be prevented by vaccinating pets and not handling or feeding wild animals, even if they appear friendly.

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