2 Middle Tennessee dogs test positive for rabies

Tennessee Department of Health offers advice for preventing rabies.

NASHVILLE (WATE) – The Tennessee Department of Health is offering advice on the prevention of rabies after two dogs in Middle Tennessee tested positive for rabies.

A puppy in Wilson County and a dog in DeKalb County both tested positive for a strain of rabies found in skunks, according to the department of health. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said it was likely both dogs contracted rabies after they were bitten by skunks.

Related: USDA to distribute bait to vaccinate raccoons for rabies

“The deaths of these animals serve as a somber reminder of the importance of rabies vaccination,” said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Our pets are more likely to come into contact with wild animals than people are. Keeping our pets’ rabies vaccinations up to date is an effective and important way to protect both them and our human loved ones.”

The department of health is encouraging owners to vaccinate household pets, which is required by Tennessee Law. They said there are a number of low cost rabies vaccination clinics on the department’s website.

People should also stay away from wild animals, according to the department of health. They said if a wild or stray domestic animal seems sick or acts strangely it should be reported to animal control. Bats in particular

“People, especially young children and teenagers, are curious about nature and animals, but wild animals and unfamiliar pets may pose a danger to their health,” said TDH Deputy State Epidemiologist John Dunn, DVM, PhD. “It’s important that parents and other adults teach children to observe wildlife from a safe distance and not to touch any wild animals or unfamiliar domestic animals.”

Here are some things you can do to help prevent the spread of rabies:

  • Keep vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs and cats and consider vaccinating horses against rabies. Talk with your veterinarian for details.
  • Supervise pets to reduce contact with wild animals.
  • Keep children away from any wild or dead animals, including bats.
  • Never touch a bat with bare hands. Use precautions and contact your local health department.
  • Contact your medical provider and local health department if you’re concerned about any potential rabies exposures to your family or your pets.

For more information or help with a potential human rabies exposure, call the Tennessee Department of Health emergency line at 615-741-7247. For questions about animal health, contact the Tennessee Department of Agriculture at 615-837-5120 or animal.health@tn.gov.

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