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Cow countys first rabies case in 12
Officials urge annual vaccinations
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At a glance

Dawson County 4-H will hold its annual rabies clinics for cats and dogs on April 28 at the following times and locations:

• Burt's Pumpkin Farm, 8:30 to 9:45 a.m.

• Dawson County Middle School, 10 to 11:45 a.m.

• Riverview Middle School, noon to 1 p.m.

• Kilough Elementary School, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Rabies shots for dogs and cats will be $9. Other annual vaccines will also be available.

Animal owners are encouraged to have their pets and livestock vaccinated after a cow in northeastern Dawson was confirmed last week as the county's first rabies case in 2012.

Local animal control officials received verification April 9 that a cow found near Stowers Road and Ga. 400 was infected with the virus.

A specimen from the animal was shipped to the Georgia Public Health Lab, Virology Section in Decatur and confirmed positive for rabies, according to District 2 Public Health spokesman Dave Palmer.

A news release by the Dawson County commission said the cow's owner is working with a number of local and state health agencies, including the Georgia Department of Agriculture, to keep the remaining cattle under close observation for signs of rabies.

Cattle in the immediate area were also inventoried and placed under watch for a six-month period.

County Manager Kevin Tanner said animal control officers will continue to monitor the cattle during this time to watch for any symptoms.

Signs to watch for include excessive drooling, restlessness, excitability, aggression and sudden mood changes, among others. Also, nocturnal animals with rabies may be active during the day.

Adjacent property owners were also notified.

The last confirmed local case of rabies was a skunk in September, Palmer said.

He encouraged pet and livestock owners to have their animals vaccinated on an annual basis.

"Another tip is taking leftover food back inside after you feed your pet so it doesn't attract wild animals," he said. "This reduces the number of incidents due to contact with wild animals."

For more information, or to report any domestic, stray or wild animals acting unusually, contact 911 or Dawson County Animal Control at (706) 265-9387.