Skunk that bit dog tests positive for rabies

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BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — A skunk that bit a dog’s paw and leg on Wednesday has tested positive for rabies, according to Boulder County Public Health.

The incident happened on Quail Road in Longmont. The dog’s owner submitted the skunk to animal control for rabies testing.

“Fortunately, this pet owner understood there might be a risk of rabies and did the right thing by contacting animal control to have the skunk tested,” said Carol McInnes, Boulder County Public Health Environmental Health Specialist.

Rabies is always fatal unless it is treated before any symptoms appear. 

Bats, skunks, foxes and raccoons are the most common wildlife carriers of rabies in the United States and can spread the disease to livestock and pets.

A rabies vaccine is the best prevention for livestock and pets. Animals that are not vaccinated may be placed in quarantine for four months or euthanized, according to public health officials.

“Making sure rabies vaccinations are up-to-date for dogs, cats, horses, and valuable livestock is the most important and effective way to protect both animals and humans from contracting rabies,” said McInnes.

How to reduce the risk of exposure to rabies:

  • DO NOT handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. Contact animal control for guidance.
  • Thoroughly wash any wound caused by an animal with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.
  • 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 when outside.
  • Teach children to leave wildlife alone.
  • Do not leave pet food in areas that are accessible to wildlife.
  • If a person or pet has been bitten by or has had contact with a bat or other wild animal, seek medical care immediately, and contact your local animal control agency or Boulder County Public Health at 303-441-1564. 

Boulder County rabies information is available online, or call 303-441-1564.

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