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Public advised to use caution around animals acting oddly 

(Lawrenceville, Ga., September 15, 2023) – Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement and the Gwinnett County Health Department advise residents to use caution and avoid animals behaving in unusual ways after a cat tested positive for the rabies virus.

On Thursday, September 7, a rabid cat bit its owner near the 4000 block of Annistown Road in Snellville. The cat later tested positive for rabies.

Diseases like rabies can be transmitted to humans and pets through bites or scratches from wild animals such as foxes and raccoons.

All pet owners should ensure that their pets are current on rabies vaccination. According to the National Association of State Health Veterinarians, unvaccinated dogs and cats exposed to a rabid animal must be strictly quarantined for four months and vaccinated one month prior to being released.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rabies virus attacks the central nervous system and is almost always fatal in humans if untreated. Early symptoms of rabies in people include fever, headache and general weakness or discomfort.

If you or your child have been bitten or scratched by any stray animals or suspected rabid animal, immediate preventive treatment is necessary.

Please seek medical care immediately and inform the healthcare provider of the exposure. Then, contact the Gwinnett County Health Department at 770-339-4260 and ask for the on-call epidemiologist.

To report the animal and have it picked up, please call the Gwinnett Animal Welfare and Enforcement Bite Office at 770-339-3200 ext. 5576; for after-hours assistance, contact non-emergency Dispatch at 770-513-5700.

The following tips may help you protect yourself and your family from rabies:

  • Ensure your pets receive regular rabies vaccinations.
  • Keep your pets on your property.
  • Avoid leaving garbage or pet food outside; it may attract wild or stray animals.
  • Report any animal acting unusually to Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement. They may display strange or unusual behavior. They may also act aggressively, avoid food and water, foam at the mouth, have trouble moving or move in a stiff, odd way. Stay away from any unknown animals, especially wildlife.
  • Stay away from wild, sick, hurt or dead animals. Do not pick up or move sick or hurt animals.
  • Do not keep wild animals like raccoons, skunks, foxes and coyotes as pets; it is dangerous and illegal.
  • Educate your children about the importance of not approaching, teasing or playing with wild animals or strange dogs and cats.

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