Rabies and Bite Case Information

Rabies is an acute and deadly viral infection of the central nervous system, which can also involve the respiratory and gastrointestinal system. When symptoms do appear, it usually is 30 to 50 days following exposure. There is a direct relationship between how severe the bite is and where on the body the person bitten and how long it takes for symptoms to appear therefore symptoms could appear in as few as 14 days. The following are symptoms of Rabies:

  • A short period of mental depression
  • Restlessness
  • Abnormal sensations such as itching around the site of the bite
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Sore throat
  • Loss appetite
  • Stiff muscles
  • Dilation (enlargement) of pupils of the eye
  • Increased production of salvia, and
  • Unusual sensitivity to sound, light and changes of temperature

Rabies can affect wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, and bats, as well as household pets such as dogs and cats. Vaccination of pets and livestock is the most effective control measure to prevent the disease in these animals and subsequent human exposure.

Most people get rabies from being bitten by a rabid animal. Rarely, if a person has broken skin, like a scratch, which can come in contact with animal saliva full of rabies virus, that person may get infected.

Augusta Animal Services is required to investigate all bite cases as a possible exposure to rabies.
All cats, dogs and ferrets involved in a bite are required to undergo a ten (10) day observation period. If the animal has a current rabies vaccination, the observation may be done at the home of the owner. However, if the animal is not current on rabies vaccination, the observation must be done at Augusta Animal Services or a licensed veterinary facility.

Augusta Animal Services charges a fee of two hundred seventy dollars ($270.00) for the ten (10) day quarantine of bite cases. The fee includes a fifty ($50.00) dollar impound fee; twenty dollars ($20.00) per day, board fee; and a twenty dollar ($20.00) fee for rabies vaccination, obtained from one of our veterinary partners. Veterinary facility quarantine fees vary.

After the observation period, cats and dogs may be given a one (1) year vaccination, if it is their first vaccination or the previous vaccination has expired. This vaccination is not considered current, until after twenty eight (28) days, because it takes that long to be effective. A three (3) year vaccination may be administered before the one (1) year vaccination expires. A rabies vaccination should not be administered during the observation period.

Pet owners are cautioned to make sure your pets are inoculated against rabies and to avoid all contact with wild animals. All cats and dogs are required to be vaccinated at three (3) months of age and are required to wear a current rabies tag on their collar at all times. Keep proof of vaccination in a safe and readily accessible location.

Report any contact of humans with wild animals to Richmond County Health Department Environmentalist Health Section office at 706-667-4234 and contact of pets with wild animals to Augusta Animal Services at 706-790- 6836.