We’ve already seen reports this year of rabid animals in Chesapeake so as we start to enjoy more time outdoors, it’s important to know what to look for. In addition to the well-known raccoon, rabies can also be present in other wildlife such as skunks, foxes, and even bats. A good rule of thumb is to stay away from wildlife. Give them space and never try to touch them. If you see an animal acting strangely (excessive drooling, sick, trouble moving, etc.), call the Chesapeake Health Department (382-8672), Chesapeake Animal Control (382-8080), or the Police non-emergency line if after hours (382-6161). You should also never touch a dead animal as rabies can still be present in its system for some time.
Aside from staying away from wildlife, your best protection against rabies is to vaccinate your pets. Canine rabies is the cause of 98% of human rabies deaths worldwide (yes, rabies can be fatal). Keep your pets up to date on their vaccinations at all times.
If your pet has been in contact with an animal that might be rabid, check for injuries and contact Chesapeake Animal Control or the Chesapeake Health Department and seek veterinary help. If you have been bitten, seek medical treatment promptly to ensure appropriate and timely evaluation and treatment. All animal exposures must be taken seriously.