Two people exposed to rabies in Caldwell County after skunk infects pet cat

Two adults in Caldwell County have been exposed to rabies after coming into contact with their cat that was infected with the virus.

The North Carolina State Laboratory notified the Caldwell County Animal Care Enforcement Division on Wednesday that a cat that was submitted by the owners tested positive for rabies.

The owners of the cat live in the Red Oak Road area of Granite Falls and are undergoing treatments to prevent rabies. The cat is believed to have been infected by a skunk.

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Officials are now working with pet owners in the area to help prevent further cases of rabies.

“One of the best ways to protect your pets is to make sure they are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations,” said ACE Director Richard Gilliland. “To help residents protect their pets, we’re working with Brews & Mews to offer a drive-thru vaccination event on Saturday.”

The clinic will take place Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Caldwell Agricultural Fairgrounds. With a valid ID, county residents can receive a free vaccine. Vaccines will be $10 for non-county residents.

County officials gave several tips on ways to keep your pets safe:

• Supervise your pets to prevent exposure.

• If your animal is exposed to a potentially rabid animal, wear gloves to protect yourself from the infectious saliva that may be on your animal’s coat.

• Teach your children to stay away from wild animals, including bats or animals they do not know.

• Avoid attracting wildlife to your home by removing food sources such as food scraps and removing cat and dog food at night.

For more information about rabies or receiving the vaccine, contact the ACE in Lenoir at 828-757-8625.

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