Our administration office at 10777 Main Street in Fairfax is open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday. Clinic services are not offered at this location.
Rabies is a disease caused by a virus that is nearly 100 percent fatal in mammals, including humans. The virus is present in some wild animals and can be spread to pets and humans. The rabies virus is found in the saliva and central nervous tissue of an infected animal. The virus is usually spread through a bite or scratch, but also can be passed along when an infected animal’s saliva or central nervous tissue enters an open wound, mouth, nose or eyes of another mammal.
The Fairfax County Health Department has seen an increased number of incidents of bats inside residential homes. Read more about the risks of rabies from bats and the steps you should take if you find a bat in your home.
Only mammals can get rabies. Birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians cannot get rabies. The most frequently reported wild animals with rabies in Fairfax are raccoons, foxes, skunks and bats. Rabbits, squirrels, rats and mice rarely get rabies. Cats are the most common domestic animal diagnosed with rabies.
Rabid Animals in Fairfax County
Each year Fairfax County identifies between 40 and 60 animals infected with rabies (also known as "rabid" animals).
Signs of a Rabid Animal
Rabid animals may show strange behavior such as being aggressive, attacking other animals or humans for no reason, or acting tame (this is not a normal behavior in wild animals). Animals infected with rabies may not be able to eat, drink or swallow. As a result, the animal may drool because they cannot swallow their saliva. The animal may stagger or stumble when moving and can become paralyzed. Rabid animals will typically die within a week of developing symptoms.
Protect Yourself, Your Family and Your Pets
Your veterinarian should vaccinate all your dogs, cats, ferrets and horses against rabies. Make sure to follow their instructions on revaccination.
What to Do if You or Your Family Are Attacked by a Wild, Stray or Unvaccinated Pet
Immediately scrub the wounds with soap and running water for 5 to 10 minutes.
Do not try and kill or capture the attacking animal. However, if you have already killed the animal, avoid further contact even though it is dead.
Write down a complete description of the attacking animal (e.g., location of the attack and current location of the animal, size, color, unique color patterns, if it was wearing a collar and, if so, what was the color, owner contact information) so that the animal control authorities can properly investigate and take action.
Seek medical attention at your family doctor or emergency room. Your doctor will check to see if you need rabies post-exposure prophylaxis.
What to Do if Your Pet Is Attacked by a Wild, Stray or Unvaccinated Pet
Do not examine your pet’s wounds without wearing gloves.
While wearing gloves, wash your pet’s wounds with running soap and water. Be sure to wash off all the attacking animal’s saliva.
Do not let your pet come into contact with other animals, pets or people until speaking with a member of the Fairfax County Police Department Animal Protection Services.
Report the animal attack to the Fairfax County Police Department Animal Protection Services at 703-691-2131. They will help confine or test the attacking animal for rabies and provide you with additional information about how you will need to watch your pet for signs of rabies.
Contact your veterinarian to follow up on additional actions needed to ensure your pet’s health and recovery.