The health department in Michigan is reminding pet owners to get their pets vaccinated for rabies as the state's first case in a decade has just been confirmed.

A press release from the Department of Health & Human Services says the virus was confirmed in a 6-month-old dog in Detroit. The dog was said to have never been given the vaccine to protect him against rabies.

When an infected animal has rabies they can spread it through their saliva hence passing it to other animals and even humans.

People can be exposed to rabies when they are bitten by a rabid animal. Other possible routes for exposure include getting infectious material in your eyes, nose, or mouth or on fresh cuts in the skin.

It's still being determined what kind of strain the infected dog got. The owners of the dog say the found out after their pet got into an altercation with another animal in the front yard.  In Michigan, skunks and bats are the top animals carrying the deadly virus.

The health department is working with the city to keep residents safe and will be testing any other sick or injured animals.

Anyone who owns a dog or ferret in the state of Michigan must have it vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Cats are highly encouraged to get the vaccine as well.

To ensure safety and prevent rabies, it's imperative pets be vaccinated and limit exposure with wildlife when possible.

The last time a rabid dog was reported in the state was in 2011 in Oakland County. Six bats in six counties have been diagnosed with rabies so far this year in Michigan, including Kent and Ottawa counties.

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Rabies is a deadly virus that can be avoided in both humans and animals. Get more info about it here.

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