Pair of raccoons test positive for rabies

The Niagara County Department of Health confirmed on Friday that a pair of raccoons collected in the Town of Royalton tested positive for rabies. Health department officials said there were no known pet or human contacts with the animals. 

A raccoon that was shot by a resident after it got into a fight with the family's dog in the Town of Royalton later tested positive for rabies, according to the Niagara County Department of Health.

Officials with the health department on Friday said the raccoon, which got into a fight with a dog at a home on Moyer Road, was confirmed as having rabies on Sept. 3. The health department said the dog received a rabies booster and will remain in home confinement for 45 days after which time the animal’s health is confirmed.

The health department noted that bats, raccoons, skunks, and fox are all common wildlife carriers of the rabies virus and that it is possible that a rabid animal can shed (share) the virus by direct contact before symptoms appear visible. A rabid animal can only be confirmed by submitting a laboratory sample.

The health department reminds county residents that they should not feed, touch or adopt wild animals, stray dogs or feral cats and to be sure that their dogs and cats have up-to-date rabies vaccinations.

Residents are also encouraged to keep their family pets indoors at night and to encourage children to immediately tell adults if they are bitten by any animals.

If a wild animal is on your property, health officials say it is best to let it wander away. You may contact a nuisance wildlife control officer who will remove the animal for a fee. If there is danger, you can call your local law enforcement agency.

If your pet has been in a fight with another animal, wear gloves to handle it. Isolate it from other animals and people for several hours and call your veterinarian.

Residents are encouraged to report all animal bites or contact with wild animals to the Niagara County Department of Health Environmental Division at 439-7444.

Further information on rabies can be obtained from the department of health at 439-7444 or www.niagaracounty.com/health.

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