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Raccoon that tangled with cat had rabies

EDNEYVILLE —Health Department officials and the sheriff's office are warning pet owners in the St. Paul’s Road area to look out for unusual behavior by their pets after a raccoon that fought with a pet cat tested positive for rabies.

The North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health on Tuesday confirmed the first positive rabies case in Henderson County this year. Deputies are posting fliers and contacting residences within a mile radius of the intersection of St. Paul’s and Beehive roads in Edneyville.

The event happened Sunday, and the cat owner shot and killed the raccoon. Both the raccoon and cat were taken to Animal Services, and the raccoon was shipped to the state lab. Because the cat had not received the rabies vaccine, it will be euthanized and sent to the state lab to be tested for rabies. Because the raccoon and cat may have interacted with other pets or wild animals in the area, residents were warned to watch for sickness in pets or wildlife.

Anyone who may have had contact with an unfamiliar pet or wild animal recently should contact a Communicable Disease Nurse with the Department of Public Health at 828-694-6019 immediately. If you think your pet was exposed or have questions, call the Henderson County Sheriff Office's Animal Enforcement Division at 697-4911.

Rabies is a deadly viral disease affecting the central nervous system. Rabies can be prevented but not cured. A healthy animal or human can get rabies when bitten, licked or scratched by a sick animal.

Officials with the Henderson County Sheriff’s Animal Enforcement Division and the Department of Public Health are urging residents to ensure their pet’s rabies vaccination is current and to contact a veterinarian immediately if their pet seems injured from an unknown cause, displays unusual behaviors or appears sick—even if the animal is current on its rabies vaccination.

For more information about rabies, visit the Health Department’s website at and click on the Communicable Disease link.