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Stray dog in Tomball area tests positive for rabies

TOMBALL, Texas – Harris County health officials are warning people about a stray dog that tested positive for rabies.

A resident found the dog Jan. 10 in the Tomball area and brought it to the Bureau of Animal Regulation & Control.. The brown and black Labrador retriever mix was approximately 1 year old. It is now deceased.

On Friday night lab results revealed the dog tested positive for rabies. The dog did not show any signs or symptoms when the resident brought it in.

Health officials believe the dog contracted the disease from a wild animal.

"This is absolutely the reason we want to have responsible pet ownership, we want to make sure people keep their dogs on leashes," said Dr. Umair Shah, of Harris County Public Health and Environmental Sciences.

Shah says the risk to the public is very low because it's very unlikely many people came in contact with the dog.

"The likelihood that someone came across this dog and was either bitten by the dog or had exposure to its saliva is even lower," Shah said.

Health officials are urging anyone who thinks they may have had contact with the dog between Jan. 4 and Jan. 10 to immediately call HCPHES Veterinary Public Health at 281-999-3191.

Rabies is a serious infection that can be transmitted to a person by contact with infected saliva through a bite or contact with mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, nose, mouth).

Even if you are not showing any signs right now, if you believe you have had contact with the dog seek medical help. Signs and symptoms may take weeks, even months, to appear.

The resident who turned the dog into BARC is now receiving rabies shots as a precautionary measure.

This is the first confirmed positive rabid dog in Harris County since 1979. Pets who are not vaccinated are always at risk.

Members of Harris County Public Health and Environmental Sciences are canvassing Tomball area neighborhoods and schools to make sure everyone is aware of the situation.