Public Health Officials today announced a fox tested positive for rabies as well as the eighth skunk to test positive for rabies in Pueblo County this year.
The fox was found near 29th Lane and Preston Road on the Mesa in Pueblo County and the latest skunk near W. 20th Street & Tuxedo Boulevard in the Hyde Park Neighborhood. Thursday, Health Department officials walked the populated area near the location where the skunk was found handing out educational warning information about rabies and the importance of vaccinating pets to protect them from this illness.
Rabies vaccination is required by law in Pueblo and having a current vaccination may save your pets life. "As the cases of rabies in Pueblo continue to rise, with more cases in April 2012 than all of last year, it is important to immediately your pets rabies vaccination history to verify they are currently vaccinated," states Vicki Carlton, environmental health program manager at the Pueblo City-County Health Department. "If they are not current, get them vaccinated right away by a veterinarian," she added.
This year to date, rabid skunks have been found in the following areas: ~Hyde Park ~Mineral Palace Park ~Minnequa Lake (2 skunks) ~Mesa area (4 skunks and a fox) ~Fowler, a neighboring community of Pueblo County All have been found during daylight hours acting strange such as, behaving abnormally aggressive or tame and approaching other animals or humans. In one case, the skunk actually climbed over a fence into a dog kennel.
"If you are engaging in outdoor activities be cautious of skunks, foxes, raccoons, or other wildlife acting strangely during the daytime" state Carlton. "If animals are seen during the daytime, falling over, acting aggressive, hissing, or walking in circles avoid contact and call authorities" she emphasized.
It is important to report wild animals that may have or has come in contact with your pet as the Health Department will help determine if the pet needs to receive a rabies vaccination booster or be quarantined. A quarantine can be a minimum of 10 days, often at a home, or may last up to six months at a facility. Quarantines are necessary to protect your family or other humans as well as other pets. Call to report a strange acting wild animal you see during daylight hours.
On weekdays, you can call the United States Department of Agriculture at 719-250-9035. On weekends and nights, you're asked to call 9-1-1.
A rabies vaccination must be given by a licensed veterinarian. The vaccination must be in the animal's body for 28 days for the vaccine to be effective.
Key rabies prevention steps:
~Ensure that dogs, cats and ferrets are vaccinated properly against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. ~Discuss vaccinating horses and other livestock with your veterinarian. If you believe your animal has been exposed to rabies, or possibly bitten by a rabid animal, immediately contact your veterinarian. ~Do not feed wild animals or allow your pets around them. Teach children to stay away from wild mammals. Do not keep pet food outside as that may attract wild animals. ~Protect all pets, particularly animals too young to be vaccinated, from contact with wild animals. Puppies and kittens should be vaccinated for rabies as early as three months old. ~Contact your veterinarian if your dog or cat is bitten or scratched by wild animals, such as skunks, bats, foxes or raccoons. ~Take steps to bat proof your home. If you or a family member has been bitten by a wild or domestic animal, contact your physician immediately.