Racoon Rabies Vaccine Program Resumes on Cape Cod

HYANNIS – The Cape Cod Rabies Task Force recently started distributing 60,000 Rabies Vaccine Baits throughout Cape Cod, and over the bridges.  

The task force scatters the vaccine baits twice annually through helicopter, in areas commonly frequented by raccoons, foxes and coyotes.

The bait works by attracting animals with a strong fishy odor, and when the animal bites the bait a pouch inside bursts and sprays the vaccine on the animal’s gums.

The baits come in two forms. The first is cubed shaped and colored a greenish brown, that has the words “Live Rabies Vaccinia” stamped on it.

The second is described as looking like a miniature ketchup packet that is covered in a fishmeal crumble. Both types of baits have a number to call if found.

The rabies vaccine baits are safe for humans and pets and have been tested on 55 different animal species. Although, consumption could end up with your pet becoming slightly ill.

“They’re considered generally very safe for people and pets. If your pet, whether it be a dog or cat were to consume multiple baits because of the fishmeal coating on the outside, the animal may experience an upset stomach,” said Wildlife Biologist Brian Bjorkland.

Bjorkland asks pet owners to do their best keeping pets away from baits, to assure as many wild animals get vaccinated as possible.

“We just ask that people obey their towns leash laws and just keep an eye out, especially for the next week or so, every bait that’s picked up by a dog is one that we consider a lost dose that could have gone to an unvaccinated raccoon,” said Bjorkland.

Most baits are consumed by wildlife within 4 days.

There has not been a documented case of raccoon variant rabies in over 8 years.

Will Moore, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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