Rabies is caused by a virus that spreads mainly though bites, scratches, or tissue from an infected animal and is almost always deadly if not treated before symptoms begin.
It is important to inoculate your pets for their safety and yours. In addition, it is also an Augusta County requirement that all dog and cats four months of age or older have their rabies vaccination. Proof of vaccination is part of the licensing requirement.
Rabies Prevention Tips
1. Get Pets Vaccinated
Have your veterinarian vaccinate your dogs, cats, and ferrets, and keep their vaccinations up-to-date. Otherwise if your pet is bitten, you risk having to get them euthanized or quarantined for up to six months.
2. Stay Away from Wild Animals
The easiest way to prevent rabies is to stay away from wild, unknown, or aggressive animals. This includes not handling dead animals. Should you get bitten by a wild animal that you suspect is rabid, you can request assistance from the animal control department at 540.245.5635.
3. Keep Pets Leashed
Don't let pets roam free. Limit the possibility of exposing your pet to rabid animals by keeping them on your property or by using a leash when away from home. Laws can require pets to be leashed when away from home or outside of a dog park.
4. Seek Medical Care Immediately if Bitten
If you are bitten, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and lots of water and seek medical care.
There is a series of vaccines you can get after the bite and before symptoms begin to prevent rabies. You can also get treatment for other possible infections that could be caused by the bite.
If your pet is bitten, contact your veterinarian.
5. Report Animal Bites and Strange Behavior
If you or your pet is attacked or bitten by a wild or domestic animal, contact the Virginia Department of Health.
Animal bites, including dog and cat bites and/or scratches, are evaluated by the Virginia Department of Health. The decision to test an animal for rabies is governed by the Health Department.
Virginia Department of Health
1414 North Augusta Street,
1414 North Augusta Street,Staunton, VA 24402
Phone: (540) 332-7830