Gilmer County Environmental Health officials are urging residents to ensure pets are vaccinated against rabies after a Talking Rock, Georgia, dog was bitten by a rabid raccoon, according to a news release from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The raccoon fought with the dog outside a home in the Ruby Ridge Drive/Highway 136 area of Talking Rock near the Gilmer-Pickens County Line on September 4th, the release states.

The raccoon was shipped for testing to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory and the positive rabies results have now been reported to the Gilmer County Environmental Health office.

According to Andrea Mathis, county environmental health manager, there was no human exposure to the raccoon, and since the dog's vaccinations against rabies were up to date, it only required a booster shot and at-home observation for 45 days.

"It's imperative to maintain rabies vaccinations in our pets, not only for their protection, but to protect ourselves and our families from rabies," said Mathis. "Once our pets are exposed to rabies, they can expose us, and rabies is virtually 100 percent fatal if not treated before symptoms begin."

An opportunity to get rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats at the reduced cost of $10 will be at the Fall Vaccines Clinic hosted by VCA Animal Appalachian Animal Hospital on Sept. 29. Other vaccines will be offered, as well.

The clinic will be held at the following locations and times:

  • Cherry Log Community Clubhouse, 8-8:45 a.m.
  • Animal Control, 9:30-11:15 a.m.
  • Mt. Vernon Church, 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
  • Pleasant Grove Church, 12:45-3 p.m.

To learn more about rabies and how to protect against the disease, call the local county environmental health office. The number for Gilmer County Environmental Health is (706) 635-6050.

Additional rabies information is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at