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By AnnaMarie Lange, VMD, PhD
Published: May 25, 2010

The large increase in the number of wildlife Rabies cases seen in Worcester County last year has continued into 2010. Presently, there are three times as many confirmed cases as there were at this time last year. Pet owners must be made aware of this potential threat. Here are a few tips to protect your family and your pets:

-Be sure that all pets are up-to-date on their Rabies vaccinations. All pets, including indoor cats, must be vaccinated against Rabies.
-Do not allow pets to roam free as they are more likely to encounter a rabid wild animal.
-Avoid feeding animals outside as this attracts stray and wild animals to your property.
-Children should learn not to approach unknown animals.
-Avoid sick animals or those acting in an unusual manner. Report these sightings to the local health department or law enforcement.
-All pets with wounds should be examined and treated by a veterinarian.

If your pet does have contact with a stray or wild animal, avoid touching him with your bare hands. Report the incident to the Health Department and local law enforcement. Call your veterinarian.