Animal health experts in Colorado are once again cautioning pet owners to keep their pets (and livestock) protected against rabies.
As of the most recent release from Colorado Department of Agriculture, the total number of confirmed animal rabies cases, statewide, is 68. Half of those cases occurred in skunks and that is the fact that has these experts repeating their earlier warning.
“. . . livestock owners need to be aware that rabies can transfer from one species to another so they should monitor their property for skunks,” said State Veterinarian, Dr. Keith Roehr in the Department’s press release.
It is also, adds Roehr, important to remember to vaccinate “barn” cats and other animals that you might not actually consider pets, exactly, but which can still bring the virus to your livestock.
Additionally, Roehr had some skunk-specific advice:
- Be wary of any skunks you see roaming around during the day. Skunks are nocturnal; any skunk activity during the day should be considered abnormal behavior.
- Think about the areas of your yard, barnyard or fields that can serve as skunk habitats, like piles of firewood, seldom-used equipment or crawlspaces.
- Don’t allow your children or your pets to play with wild animals and immediately report any bite or scratch to the appropriate medical authorities. This advice is especially important if the bite is from a skunk, bat, fox or raccoon.
- Think about vaccinating your horses, cattle and other livestock, especially if skunks are common in your area. And if your animals demonstrate odd behavior, isolate them and contact a veterinarian.
So far this year, Colorado’s 68 confirmed rabid animals are believed to have exposed 64 pets and 25 people to the virus.