Longmont skunk tests positive for rabies – Longmont Times-Call
Boulder County Public Health reported that skunk found Tuesday near livestock in Longmont has tested positive for rabies.
The skunk was spotted near a walking path at the St. Vrain River, west of Hover Street, according to a news release from Boulder County Public Health. Residents had spotted the animal and contacted Boulder County Animal Control, which notified Boulder County Public Health and sent a sample for testing, the release said.
At this time, Boulder County Public Health has said there is no indication of human or pet contact. Public health officials said anyone whose pet may have come in contact with a skunk, or who sees wildlife or a stray pet that looks sick or is acting unusual should call their local animal control office.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture, which follows up on incidents with rabid animals possibly exposing livestock, was notified of the positive result by public health officials and have followed up with the livestock owner, the release said.
Carol McInnes, Boulder County Public Health environmental health specialist, said in the release that pet owners should make sure to keep their animals and livestock up-to-date on rabies shots. She said this is the “most important and effective way” to protect both humans and animals from rabies.
“Sadly, pets with no or limited rabies vaccination that come into contact with a rabid animal must be euthanized or placed in a four-month quarantine at the owner’s expense,” McInnes said in a news release.
Rabies, an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system, is generally spread from a bite by an infected animal, according to the release. Rabies is almost always fatal, unless it is treated before any symptoms appear. Treatment for rabies exposure involves a series of vaccinations, the release said.
To reduce exposure to rabies, public health officials offered the following tips:
Public health officials recommend the following precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to rabies:
- Don’t handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they are very young or appear friendly. Contact animal control to collect the animal.
- Thoroughly wash any wound caused by an animal with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.
- People should keep vaccinations current for all dogs, cats, ferrets, and horses.
- Maintain control of pets by keeping cats and ferrets indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision.
- Teach children to leave wildlife alone.
- Don’t leave pet food or livestock feed in areas that are accessible to wildlife.
- If a person or pet has been bitten by or has had contact with a bat or wild animal, people should seek medical care immediately. They should also contact their local animal control agency or Boulder County Public Health at 303-441-1564 to arrange for rabies testing.
For more information about rabies, people can visit BoulderCountyRabies.org or call 303-441-1564.