DC, Va. health departments investigate rabies case of vaccinated dog

WASHINGTON — Health departments in D.C. and Virginia are investigating a case of canine rabies.

A dog named Fred was sick but not yet showing symptoms of the virus when it boarded at DogMa Daycare and Boarding for Dogs on L Street SE July 14—17.

The dog had been vaccinated in Virginia, according to the city’s lead veterinarian at the D.C. Department of Health, Dr. Vito delVento.

It’s possible that there was a vaccine failure, delVento said, or that the dog’s system didn’t mount an appropriate immune response. It’s also unclear how Fred was exposed to rabies. The disease is transmitted through saliva, either through bites or open wounds, he said.

Fred was euthanized July 20.

“We consider [the rabies vaccine] a very safe and effective vaccine,” delVento said. “People should not be alarmed thinking there’s reason for concern.”

When boarding animals anywhere, delVento said, owners should be sure pets are current with all required vaccines.

Pet owners whose animals boarded at DogMa between July 14 and July 17 can get a free rabies booster shot at the facility on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

D.C. sponsors free rabies vaccine clinics in each of the city’s eight wards every spring.
More information about rabies can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and D.C. Department of Health.

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Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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