Pueblo, CO- June 28, 2012- Public Health Officials reported two skunks this week were found in the Northside neighborhood near Morris and 32nd and Morris and 30th Street. Both animals tested positive for rabies. Both skunks had interaction with unvaccinated pets. Health Department is distributing flyers in the neighborhood area and posting signs to alert residents to the presence of rabid animals.
Due to the fact that the pets were unvaccinated, they were subject euthanasia. “It is unfortunate any person’s pet has to be put to sleep, but it is necessary to prevent the pet from giving rabies to its owners,” stated Heather Maio, Environmental Health Director at the Pueblo City-County Health Department. She added, “In the situation of your pet coming in contact with a rabid skunk, a pet’s life can be saved when it is up-to-date on its rabies vaccinations.”
To date, there have been 17 rabid skunks, three bats, and two foxes reported in Pueblo County.
“If you have pets, for the pet’s safety and your family’s, it is important to immediately check their rabies vaccination history to verify they are currently vaccinated,” instructed Maio. “If they are not current, get them vaccinated right away at your veterinarian or the low-cost clinics which are ongoing,” she added.
Saturday, July 21 and Aug. 25, 2012
Pueblo Animal Services
4600 Eagleridge Place
Rabies shots offered ~$8.00
Sunday, July 8, 2012
1:00- 4:00 pm
Southern Colorado Spay and Neuter Clinic
1700 S. Prairie
Rabies shots offered ~$10.00
A rabies vaccination must be given by a licensed veterinarian. The vaccination must be in the animal’s body 28 days for the vaccine to be effective.
This year to date, rabid skunks have been found in the following areas:
· Northside of Pueblo
· Mineral Palace Park
· Minnequa Lake
· Mesa area
· Hyde Park/Wildhorse Creek area
· Fowler, a neighboring community of Pueblo County
Most rabid skunks found in Pueblo have been during daylight hours. The skunks were acting strange and behaving abnormally aggressive or tame and approaching other animals or humans. “Skunks actually climbed over a fence into a dog kennel, and others have been seen wandering into fenced yards at homes,” Maio explained.
“Be cautious of skunks, bats, foxes, raccoons, or other wildlife acting strangely during the daytime” stated Maio. “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 wildlife 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. Quarantine can be a minimum of 10 days, often at 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 skunk and other suspicious wildlife you see during daylight hours.
Weekdays United States Department Agriculture (719) 250-9035
“Reduce the possibility that a skunk will be at your home. Remove areas in your yard where skunks may hide. Do not leave pet food and trash outside as it will attract wildlife,” Maio added.
Key rabies prevention steps:
· Ensure 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 animals. 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. http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/bats/management/index.html
- If you or a family member has been bitten by a wild or domestic animal, contact your physician immediately.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment updates their website every Friday with rabies data atwww.cdphe.state.co.us/dc/zoonosis/rabies/.