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Understanding Rabies

Rabies is caused by a virus that animals and people can get through certain exposures to the saliva or nervous tissue from a rabid animal and is nearly always fatal without proper post exposure prophylaxis treatment. It is a  zoonotic virus, which means it can be spread from animals to people. Rabies is 100% preventable. In most cases, preventing rabies is as simple as ensuring adequate animal vaccination and control, avoiding contact with wild animals, and educating those at risk.

Free Rabies Vaccination Clinics

WHERE:Vaccination Clinic Flier
All clinics are conducted at the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center located at 7315 Muncaster Mill Rd., Derwood, MD.

Sunday, May 18th
Sunday, June 15th
Sunday, July 20th
Sunday, Aug. 17th
Sunday, Sept. 21st
Sunday, Oct. 19th

Clinics begin at 8:00 a.m. and conclude at 10:30 a.m.

Rabies in Montgomery County

Every year in Montgomery County, an average of 40 animals are confirmed to be rabid by laboratory analysis. While most of these animals are wild animals such as raccoons, foxes, and bats, there have been several rabid cats in Montgomery County over the last 5 years.

The fact that rabies has been found in cats in Montgomery County is of great concern because it shows the disease migrating from the wild animal population into domestic animals. Once the domestic animal population is affected by rabies, it becomes far more likely that a human will be exposed. The best way to protect our community and our children is to ensure that all dogs and cats have a current rabies shot and are licensed with the County. Keeping domestic animals continuously vaccinated erects a barrier to keep rabies away from humans.


Indicators of Rabies

Changes in an animal’s normal behavior may indicate rabies

Rabid animals may appear sick and may stagger when walking, drool heavily or suffer from paralysis

A nocturnal animal, seen outdoors acting normally during the daytime, is NOT an indicator of rabies


Bats and Rabies

The bat strain of rabies is present in our area and is often identified as the source of many human rabies cases nationwide. Bats have small teeth which may leave marks that are not easily seen. It is possible for a human to be bitten by a bat and not even know it. Certainly, if the bat is present in a room where a person was sleeping, a small child or elderly person was present, a person with disabilities was present or an intoxicated person was present, the bat should be tested for rabies due to the potential exposure. Any time a bat enters your homes living space you should call the Emergency Communication Section at 301-279-8000 so that an Animal Services Officer may respond to your home to assess the situation and capture the bat for rabies testing if necessary. If it was possible that a bite may have occurred, the bat will be tested for rabies.


Steps to Prevent Rabies


Contact Us: Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center
Department of Police, Animal Services Division
7315 Muncaster Mill Rd., Derwood, MD 20855  Telephone: 240.773.5900  Fax: 301.279.1063