Metro Animal Control sees spike in rabies cases - WSMV Channel 4

Metro Animal Control sees spike in rabies cases

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

At the dog park, Marcy is known as 'The Instigator.'

So you can bet if she came across an animal in the wild, she would be the first dog to check it out. 

"She's a handful," her owner says. "She's the fastest dog I've ever seen."

Marcy was vaccinated for rabies early on, and it's a good thing because Metro officials are expecting the serious, deadly virus to be a big problem this year. 

So far this year, officials have identified three cases: two rabid skunks in Antioch, and a rabid bat in Whites Creek. 

According to Metro Animal Care and Control Director Dr. Staci Cannon, that's an unusually high number. 

"We're pretty concerned," Cannon says. "I mean, this is the time of year where people are getting out and about with their pets. They're hiking. They're exploring. They're doing yard work. They're doing all of those things that put them in close proximity to wildlife, so it's something that people need to be very aware of."

Cannon says the best thing people can do to protect themselves is to vaccinate their pets.

"The vaccine is very safe, very effective," she says. "It's highly recommended and legally required for all dogs and cats."

If you see an animal in the wild acting weird, don't approach it and be sure to warn your kids.

"They typically appear disoriented, uncoordinated," Cannon explains. "Neurologically, they might be having seizures. Sometimes we talk about them salivating because they can't swallow properly."

If your pet is bitten by a rabid animal, get them to the vet. 

If it happens to you, seek medical attention immediately.

"Sometimes you don't realize you've been bitten by a bat. You might just wake up and find a bat in your home -- that means that you then need to have that bat tested for rabies," Cannon says.

In Tennesee, all dogs and cats are required to be vaccinated for rabies after the age of three months.

Metro Animal Control runs monthly rabies vaccination clinics on the third Saturday of each month where you can get your pet vaccinated for just $10. 

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