AUBURN, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Local veterinarians are raising awareness about rabies prevention at a time when there could be an outbreak in Schuylkill County. A rabid raccoon was found in the Lake Wynonah gated community.
Alissa Emerich was pulling out of her drive way in Auburn when she noticed a raccoon swatting his head and acting strange.
“I saw a raccoon kind of stumbling around, nonchalantly, looking around middle of the day, hot day, bright day out, so immediately I thought this could be a rabid raccoon,” said Emerich.
As a trained veterinary technician, Emerich knew how to kill the animal while preserving the brain for testing.
The Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory found that the raccoon was indeed rabid
“You never think, oh, it’s in my area,” added Emerich.
The raccoon was found in the street of a highly populated community by Lake Wynohnah.
“We always worry when rabies is showing up close to home, especially close to a lot of homes,” said Dr. John Broshkevitch, local veterinarian.
By law, pets should be re-boostered with a rabies shot every one to three years.
“If there’s any risk or concern, re-vaccinate the animal immediately,” added Broshkevitch.
Signs of rabies can take weeks or months to show in animals– or humans. If a person has been scratched or bitten by an animal with an unknown rabies vaccine status, they should be treated immediately.
“It would be fatal if you don’t catch it in time,” said Broshkevitch.
Which is why prevention is key. Veterinarians advise people to stop feeding stray and wild animals close to their homes. Rabies shots cost about 20-dollars at Schuylkill County vets. If you see an animal with signs of rabies, call animal control.