VIRGINIA: Rabies Rate Remains Around Same Level as 2012, Concern for People and their Pets Still Needed

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners, a specialty and emergency veterinary hospital in Virginia Beach, are urging pet owners to check with their family veterinarians to make sure their pets are current on their rabies vaccines.

In the past two months, BluePearl has treated four pets for raccoon attacks, two of which were seen in the last three weeks. The most recent raccoon to attack a pet in Virginia Beach tested positive for rabies.

“The threat is very real and pet owners need to make sure their pets have been vaccinated for rabies and that those vaccinations are current,” said Dr. Amanda German, an emergency clinician with BluePearl.

If pets have not been vaccinated and are possibly exposed to rabies, a mandatory six-month quarantine will be established in which the pet cannot have any human contact. As a worst-case scenario, euthanasia may be the only option.

If pets have been vaccinated and are not current on their vaccinations, a mandatory quarantine of 10 days will be established if the pet is attacked by an animal that could be a carrier of the disease.

“Vaccinating pets against rabies is the single most important thing people can do to protect themselves, their families and their pets against the deadly virus,” said Val Thompson, an environmental health supervisor with the Virginia Department of Health.

According to Thompson, the VDH strongly advises that people take the following steps to prevent families and pets from exposure to rabies:

  • Vaccinate all dogs, cats and ferrets against rabies, it’s the law!
  • Avoid contact with wild animals or stray dogs and cats.
  • Do not feed wild animals or stray dogs and cats.
  • Eliminate outdoor food sources around the home.
  • Securely seal garbage containers with lids.
  • Keep dogs and cats confined to your property and walk dogs on a leash.  Animals that are allowed to roam are more prone to come in contact with wild animals such as raccoons and foxes.
  • Report stray animals to Animal Control by calling 385-5000.

About BluePearl Veterinary Partners
Formed in 2008, BluePearl Veterinary Partners is headquartered in Tampa, Fla., and employs more than 1,200 people including approximately 250 veterinarians. BluePearl hospitals are referral-only and don’t provide primary care. Most BluePearl hospitals offer 24-hour emergency care services. BluePearl is one of the world’s principal providers of approved veterinary residency and internship educational programs. BluePearl also participates in and conducts clinical trials to study the effectiveness of new drugs and treatments, which give clients access to cutting-edge medicine not yet commercially available and improves the quality of care delivered to our patients.


Date: June 3, 2013