Rabies Warning

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The number of rabies cases in the state has already surpassed last year's total, and officials are warning residents to get their pets vaccinated.

The state Department of Health and Human Resources says there have been 103 reported cases of rabies so far this year, up from 75 in 2005.

Most of the rabid animals have been raccoons, but two cats and a dog have also been infected.

This week, a Greenbrier County toddler was scratched by a rabid cat which was later euthanized.

The nine reported cases of rabies in that county have prompted veterinarians there to offer a countywide vaccination clinic later this month.

Rabies shots will cost $5 per pet, less than half of what they usually cost.

A state law requires cats and dogs to be vaccinated every two years.

But State Veterinarian Doctor Joe Starcher says many people ignore the law, believing their pets won't contract the disease.

Rabies is always fatal in animals unless treated immediately.

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