Rabies cases reported in Clinton

Posted July 19, 2012, at 12:04 p.m.

CLINTON, Maine — The Clinton animal control officer and local law enforcement officials are urging residents to be aware that rabies is in the area and to take the necessary precautions.

In the last three months, the animal control officer has handled five confirmed cases of rabies in Clinton — three on the River Road, one on the Bush Road and one on the Canaan Road — involving a skunk, a fox and raccoons, the town said Thursday in a press release.

Animals with rabies often exhibit behavior changes. A friendly dog may become withdrawn or aggressive, or an aloof animal may become unusually affectionate or aggressive. A rabid animal may eat or chew things such as wood, soil, stones, plants or other foreign objects. One of the most recognizable signs is excessive drooling or foaming at the mouth, although this is not seen with all rabid animals. Other signs may include dilated pupils, vacant stare, muscle tremors (especially in cats), hoarseness or a throaty bark or snarl. Rabies also can cause varying degrees of paralysis, affecting the hind legs and the muscles of the head and neck, causing the jaws to hang open.

Anyone who witnesses an animal with any of these symptoms is urged to contact the Clinton Police Department at 426-9192.

The town said that to protect yourself against rabies:

• Do not touch or feed wild animals, stray dogs or cats, or bats.

• Keep garbage in tightly sealed containers.

• Stay away from any animal that is behaving aggressively or a wild animal that appears ill or is acting unusually friendly. Call the Clinton Police Department at 426-9192 to report animals that are displaying these or other unusual behaviors. Call 911 in emergency situations.

• If a bat is found indoors and may have had contact with someone, do not release it. Call Clinton Police Department at 426-9192 to determine if the animal should be picked up for rabies testing.

To protect your pet against rabies:

• Make sure your dog or cat is up to date on its rabies vaccinations.

• Do not leave your pets outdoors unattended.

• Do not try to separate animals that are fighting.

• If your pet has been in contact with an animal that might be rabid, contact your veterinarian.

• Feed pets indoors.

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