CLINTON, Maine — The local animal control officer and local law enforcement officials would like residents to be aware that rabies is in the area and take the necessary precautions.
In the last three months, the local animal control officer has handled five confirmed cases of rabies in Clinton (three cases on the River Road; one case on the Bush Road; one case on the Canaan Road) involving a skunk, a fox, and raccoons.
All residents should take precautions to protect themselves from rabies. Avoid contact with wild animals, and make sure pets are vaccinated against rabies.
Symptoms of rabies in animals 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 A friendly dog may become withdrawn or aggressive, or an aloof animal may become unusually affectionate or aggressive.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 can also cause varying degrees of paralysis, affecting the hind legs and the muscles of the head and neck, causing the jaws to hang open.
If you witness an animal with any of these symptoms contact the Clinton Police Department at their non-emergency number at (207) 426-9192.
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 their non-emergency number at 426-9192 to report animals that are displaying these or other unusual behaviors. Always 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 their non-emergency number 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.