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Raccoon that fought with dog had rabies

MILLS RIVER — A raccoon that fought with a pet dog has tested positive for the rabies virus, public health officials said.


The incident occurred on Sept. 26 in Mills River, and county officials received confirmation two days later from the state Laboratory of Public Health.

Animal control officers found the raccoon dead to due injuries inflicted by the dog. The dog was up-to-date on rabies vaccine and is currently being quarantined for 45 days to monitor for signs of rabies.

This is the first positive rabies case in Henderson County this year. Deputies will be posting flyers and contacting residences within a mile radius of the encounter in Mills River. The raccoon may have interacted with other pets or wild animals in the area, so residents should be alert for any unusual behaviors or sickness in their pets or wildlife.

Anyone who may have had contact with an unfamiliar pet or wild animal recently should immediately contact a communicable disease nurse with the Department of Public Health at 828-694-6019. 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 urged 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 behavior or appears sick—even if the animal is current on its rabies vaccination.