Rabies is a deadly virus that infects animals and can be a risk to humans as well. The most commonly reported rabid animals here in Fairfax County include foxes, raccoons, skunks, and bats. But your pets are not automatically immune to this disease and must be vaccinated against it.

Reduce your risk of exposure to the rabies virus

  • Vaccinate your pets against rabies and keep inoculations current.
  • State law and County ordinance require dogs and cats four months of age and older to be inoculated.
  • Vaccine must be administered every one to three years, depending on the type used and the age of the animal.
  • The Animal Services Division holds low-cost rabies clinics for dogs and cats throughout the year. For more information on this, call the Animal Shelter at 703-830-1100.
  • Warn children to keep away from wildlife and encourage them to report any physical contact with animals.
  • Minimize contact between pets and wildlife, especially at night. Walk pets on a leash. Feed cats and dogs inside.
  • Eliminate possible sources of food for wildlife from your yard and keep trash can lids tightly closed.
  • Do not keep wild animals as pets. Even baby skunks and raccoons can carry the rabies virus.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a deadly virus that attacks the spinal cord and brain in warm blooded animals, including humans. Animals with rabies can survive for up to six months in an infected state and may or may not show any symptoms.

How is rabies spread?

The rabies virus is spread through the infected animal’s saliva and can be transmitted through any open wound, nose or mouth.

What do I do if a child or adult comes in contact with an animal that may be infected?

If bitten or scratched by a wild or stray animal or a pet that was seen acting strangely, wash the wound immediately and thoroughly with soap and water. Soak the affected area for 10 minutes. Apply antiseptic. Seek medical attention and report the incident to the Animal Services Division of the Fairfax County Police Department at 703-691-2131 and the Health Department at 703-246-2433.

What do I do if my pet is bitten by an animal species known to carry rabies

Report it to the Animal Services Division of the Fairfax County Police Department, 703-691-2131

What will happen if my pet is exposed to rabies?

There is no cure for rabies. Rabies vaccinations are the most important protection you can give your pet against the deadly disease.

A pet, when bitten by a rabid animal, may develop symptoms within two to 24 weeks, but the usual period is within three to eight weeks. A pet infected with the rabies virus may show behavioral changes such as increased anxiety, depression, irritability, increased affection or may not show any symptoms at all. Once clinical signs, or overt symptoms, appear, the animal will die within a week.

If you have additional questions or concerns, contact the Fairfax County Health Department at 703-246-2433.

What do I do if I see a wild animal, or any animal for which the owner is unknown, acting strangely?

Be wary and keep your distance from it. Report strange animal behavior or animal attacks to the Animal Services Division of the Fairfax County Police Department, 703-691-2131.

How should I minimize contact between my pets and wild animals?

Take precautions. Have all pets sleep indoors. Walk your pet on a leash. Feed cats and dogs inside.

2014 Reduced Cost Rabies Clinics

March 16 (2pm-4pm) and September 21 (12pm-2pm) at
Mason District Government Center
6507 Columbia Pike
Annandale, Va.  22003

April 20 (2pm-4pm), June 15 (12pm-2pm), October 19 (2pm-4pm) at
Fairfax County Animal Shelter
4500 West Ox Rd
Fairfax, VA 22030

May 18 (2pm-4pm), November 16 (12pm-2pm) at
Mt. Vernon RECenter
2017 Belle View Rd.  22307
Alexandria, Va.  22307

Cost is 12.00 per pet
(Cash or Check ONLY)

Please note:

  • Dogs and cats are eligible for vaccinations.
  • Dogs MUST be on leashes.
  • Cats MUST be in carriers.
  • All pets will receive a 1-year rabies vaccine. To obtain a 3-year vaccine, bring your pet's rabies certificate showing your dog's current rabies vaccination and expiration date. Only those who are able to show proof will be be eligible for the 3-year vaccination for their pet.
  • Only rabies certificates will be issued (no tags).
  • 2013 dog licenses will be sold at each clinic at additional cost of $10.00.


Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

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