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As many of you may have noticed, there seems to be no end to the abundance of wildlife on the installation, particularly the groundhogs.

While these chubby little furballs may appear sweet and harmless, they are formidable opponents when matched against the beloved pets of our Soldiers.

The Fort Meade Veterinary Treatment Facility has treated multiple dogs who were seriously injured by groundhogs.

In addition to the obvious trauma suffered, the groundhog can transmit fatal rabies illness to pets or working dogs during their encounter.

Rabies is an ever-present threat anytime people and/or pets are involved with wildlife. Any warm, furry animal can potentially carry rabies.

Even something as trivial as a small scratch from a rabid animal can transmit the virus. Unfortunately, rabies disease is nearly always fatal. A potentially exposed pet or person must be evaluated as rapidly as possible by the appropriate medical facility.

While we have made significant advances in the field of rabies treatments, there are still extensive quarantine requirements and even tougher post-exposure shot regiments that are associated with these "playdates."

A confirmed current rabies vaccination reduces the requirements. For these reasons, we strongly recommend you keep your animals current on their rabies vaccines and always maintain a safe distance between you or your pet and wildlife.

For more information, call your veterinarian or the Fort Meade Veterinary Treatment Facility at 301-677-1318.

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