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Skunk is 21st rabies case in Orange County

Posted November 14, 2014

WRAL News
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— An infected skunk is Orange County's 21st positive rabies case this year, officials said Friday.

The skunk was found dead Wednesday by a Hurdle Mills resident inside a pen that houses one of his dogs. The dog was inside the pen at the time of discovery.

Animal control officers were called to remove the skunk, and lab results on Friday confirmed it carried rabies, according to Orange County Animal Services.

The dog, authorities said, was up to date on its rabies vaccination. State law requires unvaccinated dogs either be quarantined for six months, at the owner's expense, or be euthanized.

Dogs or cats with a current rabies vaccination must only receive a booster shot within five days of suspected exposure.

"Prevention is the best measure for effective rabies control for pets and people alike," Animal Services director Bob Marotto said.

"Ensuring cats, dogs and ferrets are current on their rabies vaccinations is one of the most important responsibilities of a pet owner, since it can quite literally be the difference between life and death for their pet and protect the public from rabies."

Marotto said skunks are not dominant hosts of rabies and that it most likely contracted the disease from a raccoon – something known as a "spillover effect," because dogs, cats, groundhogs and foxes are most susceptible to getting rabies from raccoons.

The county is hosting its next low-cost rabies vaccination clinic in January.

For more information, call Animal Services at 919-942-7387 or visit the department's website for more clinic dates.

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