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 (Mon-Fri, 7am-11pm): call 301-600-1544
    • After hours, weekends, and holidays: call 301-600-1603
  • Environmental Health: for general rabies questions
    • During regular business hours (Monday - Friday, 8 am - 5 pm): call 301-600-1717 
    • After hours, weekends, and holidays (The Frederick County Communications Center will contact the on-call Environmental Health supervisor regarding the emergency): call 301-600-0312
  • Community Health Services: for questions about human exposure/bites
    • During regular business hours (Monday - Friday, 8 am - 5 pm): call 301-600-1733 
    • After hours, weekends, and holidays: call 301-600-0312

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.  

DUE TO COVID-19, THE 2021 spring and fall RABIES CLINICS have been cancelled. The FCHD plans to have multiple rabies vaccination clinics in 2022.  Check back for dates once March 2022 arrives.  For more information about other rabies vaccination options please call 301-600-1717. 

  • For Animal Control clinics, visit www.FrederickCountyMD.gov/fcac or call 301-600-1546.
  • For Humane Society clinics, spay/neuter programs, pet food bank and micro-chipping information, visit http://www.fchs.org, call 301-694-8300, or look at their Facebook page.
  • For Animal Welfare League clinics, spay/neuter information and pet food bank information, visit http://www.awlfc.org/ or call 301-663-5855.

Exposure Instructions

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

Additional Rabies Information

dog receiving rabies vaccine