YUMA COUNTY, Colo. — The Colorado Department of Health has confirmed one case of pet dog having rabies in Yuma County less than a week after the first case was confirmed in Weld County.
The Weld County case was confirmed Wednesday and officials suspect the puppy suffered a bite from an infected skunk.
The puppy came in contact with four other dogs and six people in Weld and five others outside the county.
The four dogs will be monitored over the next 120 days. Weld County created an interactive map of rabies cases in the area.
These are the first cases of rabies among dogs in Colorado since 2003, when one from Texas tested positive. The last time a dog was exposed and developed rabies in Colorado was 1974, officials said.
Before these incidents, Denver Animal Protection warned residents to make sure pets have been properly vaccinated against the viral infection.
“When the family dog or cat gets rabies, there’s an increased risk of exposure to people,” Colorado Public Health veterinarian Jennifer House said. “It’s critical to make sure all your pets are up to date on their vaccinations. This not only protects your pet but keeps your whole family safe.”
Four rabid skunks have been found in Denver in the past month, but officials don’t believe they came in contact with other animals or humans.
Skunk rabies is also on the rise in Jefferson County, with 11 testing positive this year.
Rabies affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals, and is almost always fatal.
Most Colorado rabies cases are found in skunks and bats, but rabies can also affect other wildlife, pets and livestock.
Humans and domestic animals can become infected through contact with wild animals. Changes in behavior, physical weakness and aggression are among the signs of an animal infected with the virus.
The Denver Animal Shelter offers weekly rabies vaccinations clinics on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. for $15 per pet.