Rabies

Rabies Overview

Rabies is a virus that can affect both domesticated (dogs and cats) and non-domesticated animals (groundhogs, skunks, cows, bats, opossums, etc.). Fish, snakes, lizards, and birds cannot carry or get the rabies virus. The rabies virus is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal. You cannot get rabies from blood, skunk spray, urine, feces, or from petting an infected animal.

Who to Contact

  • Animal Control: to report bites and collect specimens
    • During regular business hours (Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 11 a.m.), call 301-600-1544
    • Afterhours, weekends, and holidays: call 301-600-2558
  • Environmental Health: for general rabies questions
    • During regular business hours (Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.), call 301-600-1717
    • After hours, weekends, and holidays: call 301-600-1603 to reach the Frederick County Communications Center, and they will contact the Environmental Health supervisor on call regarding the emergency
  • Community Health Services: for questions about human exposure/bites
    • During regular business hours (Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.), call 301-600-3342

Rabies Signs in Animals

Symptoms of Rabid Animals (may exhibit multiple symptoms or have only 1):
  • Paralysis
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Staggering movements
  • Overfriendliness
  • Aggressiveness
  • Daytime activity in nocturnal animals (e.g. raccoon attacking a dog during the day)
  • Drooling
  • Seizures
  • Death
  • Additional Signs to Look For In a Pet:
  •  Ataxia (loss of muscle control and coordination)
  • Disinterest in food or water
  • Difficulty waking up
  • Signs of depression or self-mutilation

Protect Your Pet


The only way to fully protect your pets is to ensure that they are currently vaccinated. The Health Department offers rabies vaccination clinics for cats, dogs, and ferrets 3 months of age and older. For more information and a list of dates, please view our 2017 Health Department Rabies Clinics Flyer or call 301-600-1717.

Exposure Instructions


What to do if you think you or your pet has had a possible exposure:

Additional Rabies Information