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Raccoon that scratched Catawba County woman tests positive for rabies

A raccoon that scratched a Catawba County woman as she took it to a veterinarian clinic in southwest Hickory has tested positive for rabies, Hickory police said.

On Friday, Hickory Animal Control officers were dispatched to the Emergency Vet Clinic on Old Lenoir Road NW after the raccoon was brought in from Lee Cline Road in Conover.

On Wednesday, the North Carolina Public Health Laboratory notified Catawba County that the raccoon tested positive for rabies. Police said the woman who’d been scratched was told to seek medical attention for possible exposure to rabies.

Hickory Police Department Animal Control reminds pet owners that rabies is still present in the local wild animal population and is a threat to pets and humans.

Symptoms of rabies to look for in domestic animals include uncoordinated or unsteady walking, stumbling, paralysis, difficulty eating or inability to swallow, disorientation, difficulty breathing, slobbering, difficulty hearing, sensitivity to noise or visual stimulation, fear of water, or behavioral changes.

The best way to protect pets from rabies is to have them vaccinated for rabies.

The Hickory Police Department sponsors reduced-cost rabies vaccination clinics at various times throughout the year. The next clinic will be in the spring.

The Catawba County animal shelter also offers year-round vaccinations at a reduced cost.