Local Rabies News

OWINGS MILLS, MD — After a pack of coyotes attacked a dog in Owings Mills, Baltimore County Animal Services reported one tested positive for rabies. The agency shared rabies prevention tips and a reminder to keep vaccinations up to date for pets.

The pack of four coyotes attacked a dog in the Owings Mills area, according to county animal services officials. Once the owner of the 36-acre property killed one of the coyotes, it came back positive for rabies.

“The Baltimore County Department of Health wants to remind everyone that contact with a rabid animal may result in death,” officials said. Read Full Story >>

Rabies Prevention

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Rabies is a deadly problem spread from animals to human beings, triggered by a virus that attacks the central nervous system, triggering convulsions, paralysis and lastly death. The virus exists in the saliva of a rabid animal and is transferred primarily by animal attacks (scratches and bites) and rarely by contamination of open cuts, fresh injuries or mucous membranes.

View Rabies Fact Sheet

All warm-blooded animals can be affected by the virus, however it is frequently found in wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats. Dogs and cats can and do get rabies if they are not vaccinated against it and come into contact with the virus.

Rabies is hardly ever found in rodents such as mice, rats, squirrels, chipmunks, guinea pigs, hamsters, or in rabbits. Birds, turtles, lizards, fish, and insects do not contract rabies.

Symptoms of Rabies in Animals

A rabid animal may:

  • Be unnaturally withdrawn
  • Be unusually friendly or calm
  • Be very docile
  • Snap at anything in its path
  • Appear in the daytime (if it’s nocturnal)
  • Search for an isolated place to die.

Is There a Treatment for The Rabies Virus?

As soon as indications of rabies appear, the illness is often deadly. Rabies can be avoided if early treatment is administered (The first dose of the vaccine should be administered within the first 24 hours after exposure). If you have been in contact with an animal with possible rabies, you need to get in touch with the health department or a medical center for guidance on rabies avoidance treatment.

Treatment includes a first dosage of vaccine and another protective injection. 4 more doses of vaccine are administered over 28 days.

Tips to Prevent Rabies

  • Vaccinate dogs and cats against rabies as necessitated by law. All dogs and cats older than four months of age will need to be vaccinated against rabies. Always keep vaccinations current at all times.
  • Animal control and local laws forbid permitting animals to roam unsupervised. Roaming animals are more likely to have been exposed to rabies than those monitored by their owners.
  • Leave roaming or unidentified dogs and cats alone. Loose animals are most likely to have been exposed to rabies and to attack others.
  • Keep pets away from strays and wildlife.
  • Leave wild animals alone. Avoid wild animals even if they appear friendly, do not coax a wild animal to consume from your hand. Do not fear wild animals, just respect and stay away from them. Very kids can discover this rule.
  • Even a raccoon or skunk born in captivity may be a rabies host. There are no approved vaccines for wild animals.
  • Make your property unappealing to wild animals. Cover chimneys and seal any openings in attics, under decks and in basements. Feed your household pets inside your home and keep trash cans firmly closed.

If YOU are Bitten, Scratched, or have Contact with an Animal:

  • If the animal is a domestic animal, get the owner’s information such as address and phone number if possible.
  • Clean the wound completely, as soon as you can, cleansing and flushing with plenty of soap and water for several minutes.
  • Report all animal bites to your animal control agency right away, local authorities or health department for follow-up.
  • Identify and continue to observe the animal (if wild or stray) to assist in its eventual capture, however do not risk direct exposure again by trying to catch it yourself or keep it restricted to an area. Remember cornered animals will fight if they can not get away.
  • Get prompt medical attention. Call your family practitioner or go to the closest emergency room.

If Pets are Bitten, Scratched, or have Contact with a Wild Animal:

  • Get your pet away from the animal immediately.
  • Restrict the wild animal, if possible. (Do not touch it or run the risk of exposing yourself.).
  • To prevent exposure of saliva to an open injury, it is advised that you do not deal with pets, touch or analyze your dog or cat for a minimum of 2 hours following the interaction with the rabid animal.
  • If you have to touch your pet quickly after a interaction, use heavy gloves and afterwards make sure to thoroughly clean your hands with soap and water. Then contact your doctor or local health department for suggestions to determine whether or not there may have been any direct exposure to the rabies.
  • Contact your regional animal control organization instantly for suggestions about testing the wild animal for rabies and follow-up for your family pet.

What if I have a bat in my home?

  • Contact our office for support and capture.
  • Close windows and closet doors.
  • Turn on all the lights if the space is dark.
  • Leave the space and close the door behind you.
  • If the bat is in a room, block the room to keep it contained as well as possible including stuffing towels under a door.
  • Do not release the bat or try to grab it yourself.

Any live or dead bat that might have had contact with a person should be checked for rabies. When the rabies test results are verified, the Department of Health will alert you so you and your doctor can make an educated decision concerning necessary medical treatment.

If the bat can not be located, or has escaped, contact the Baltimore County Animal Services office, and see a medical professional as soon as possible..

For additional information on rabies, visit The Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Important Baltimore Maryland Phone Numbers

Report animal bites to:
Baltimore County Police Department
Phone: 410-887-2222
Email: police@baltimorecountymd.gov

Report sick, injured or dead animals to:
Baltimore County Animal Services
Phone: 410-887-PAWS (7297)
Email: animalservices@baltimorecountymd.gov

Questions about rabies to:
Rabies Investigation Field Officer
Phone: 410-887-5963 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
Email: animalservices@baltimorecountymd.gov

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