Carnivores such as fox, skunk, raccoon, bobcat, coyote, wolf are not legal to possess and could have the rabies virus without showing any signs. They can even be born harboring the rabies virus! These carnivores should not be handled even if they are babies or are injured. Any bite or scratch from these animals should be reported to Animal Control so that a report can be made and the animal can hopefully be sent for rabies testing.
Bats that bite or scratch a person or domestic animal are of great concern regarding potential rabies. Use care with protection to contain the bat and call Animal Control to have a report made and to pick up the bat for rabies testing. If you locate a bat inside you home and are not sure if an bite or scratch has occurred, contact Animal Control for guidance before disposing of the bat.
Livestock such as cattle, horses, mules, donkeys, goats, swine, and sheep are not likely to have rabies. However, exposure to saliva from livestock infected with rabies is a concern. If at the time of the exposure, the animal is clinically ill with signs suggestive of rabies then treatment and testing must be weighted against the circumstances of exposure. Involve your doctor and the Georgia Poison Control Center in the decision of treatment and testing. Again, Report the bite to Animal Control.
Small animals and rodents such as squirrels, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, chipmunks, rats, mice gophers, moles, rabbits and hares seldom survive an attack from a rabid animal and do not normally carry rabies. Any bite or scratch from these animals should be treated, but Animal Control does not take reports or confine these animals for rabies testing.
Dogs, cats and ferrets should always be vaccinated against rabies. Although these animals are not born with rabies, they can be exposed to the virus and be a risk to humans. Larger animals such as dogs, cats and ferrets can survive an attack of a rabid animal and contract rabies. The state requires that all dogs, cats, and ferrets that bite or scratch where the injury bleeds be confined for a ten (10) day quarantine period. The ten day period is necessary to observe the animal for any signs of rabies.
If you need additional information about a particular incident, contact Animal Control at 770-288-7387. For more information on rabies, the Georgia Rabies Control Manual can be accessed online.