Brick police are advising residents of the township’s Birchwood Park neighborhood to monitor their pets for signs of rabies after an infected raccoon was found nearby earlier this month.
The raccoon was picked up Nov. 15 on Redwood Drive by the Jersey Shore Animal Center, Sgt. Henry Drew said. It had been suspected of having rabies and was euthanized by the animal center. After euthanization, tests performed by the Ocean County Health Department confirmed it had been rabid.
Due to the fact that there are several documented and undocumented feral cat colonies in the area, area residents are being advised to monitor their own household pets and small children when they are outdoors as it is unknown if any of the cats, or other area wildlife may have been infected, Drew said.
Area residents are being asked to contact the Brick Township Police Department at 732-262-1100 or the Jersey Shore Animal Center at 732-920-1600 if they observe any animals that are acting out of the ordinary. Some common signs of rabies can be found below.
Rabid animals often:
• Are fully or partially paralyzed
• Experience a loss of appetite
• Exhibit strange behaviors, such as snapping at the air or turning in circles
• Are nocturnal animals who wander during the day — or diurnal animals that start going out at night
• Drool excessively
• Are wild animals that show no fear of humans
• Exhibit symptoms of pica (eating substances that aren’t food, such as rocks, dirt or wood)
• Have sporadic changes in mood or behavior
• Appear to be restless or aggressive
• Are obviously disoriented
• Acquire a change in voice (you may notice a change in the pitch and tone of your dog’s bark, for example)
• Rabies typically infects a variety of animals that vary by region. In the United States, raccoons are the most common carriers of the disease, but bats more often transfer it to humans [source: CDC]. Skunks and foxes are also frequent vectors for the virus, but it has been found in everything from woodchucks to chimpanzees. A good rule of thumb: If an animal is exhibiting unusual behavior, try to avoid it and contact your local animal control office as soon as possible.
For further information regarding rabies please go to http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/index.html