NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – There is important information for pet owners after two dogs were bitten by skunks and tested positive for rabies and died in Middle Tennessee.
The rabies cases were in Wilson and DeKalb counties, and the Tennessee Department of Health told News 2 neither of the dogs had their vaccines up to date.
“I think it’s also important to remember that rabies is not just something that affects dogs, it also affects our cats. Especially our outdoor cats that have more interactions with skunks or raccoons,” said Dr. Beth Anne Frost with Murphy Road Animal Hospital.
Tennessee law requires that all dogs and cats be vaccinated against rabies and their shots kept up to date. Dogs are required to have a rabies vaccination by three months and cats at 6 months with a booster at one year. The rabies shots cost between $10 to $20.
Dog owner Nikki Delong told News 2 pet owners have a responsibility to make sure vaccinations are up to date.
“I see my dog as a part of the family and neglecting them is like neglecting your child,” said Delong.
In Tennessee in 2015, rabies was diagnosed in 33 animals including one dog, 24 skunks, five bats and three raccoon.
“They become very aggressive. They are fearful of everything and that’s why a rabid animal is so dangerous because they want to attack or bite anything that gets in their way,” said Dr. Frost.
Rabies is almost always deadly in animals and people and the virus is preventable.
Metro Animal Care and Control is teaming up with local veterinarians to host monthly rabies vaccination clinics. Click here for dates and times.