According to a press release from the The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, a skunk found close to the foothills west of Fort Collins has tested positive for rabies and this is the first time this type of rabies has been confirmed in a populated area of Larimer County.

The skunk was found found near LaPorte Avenue, a mile west of Overland Trail. The skunk appeared to have been mauled by a large animal, which might have become infected in the attack.

Why is rabies such a big deal? there is no cure for it and if an unvaccinated dogs or cats that comes into contact with a rabid animal it has to be euthanized or vaccinated and quarantined at a veterinary facility for 90 days, followed by another 90 days of home quarantine.

That some very expensive stuff.

Below are some tips from the press release about how to lower your chances (and your pets’ chances) of coming in contact with the rabies virus and video about the skunk from CBS5.

To lower your or your pets’ chances of exposure to rabies, the Health Department recommends the following:
  • Vaccinate dogs, cats, and ferrets as recommended by your veterinarian; make sure they are up-to-date on their shots. Animals too young to be vaccinated should be kept indoors. Talk to your large animal vet about vaccinating horses and livestock.
  • Leash your pets when they accompany you on a walk in your neighborhood or in parks, the foothills, or open spaces. Pets who roam freely have an increased chance of an encounter with a wild animal and could be exposed to rabies without your knowledge.
  • Feed your pets indoors, and bring your pets inside at night. Do not leave pet food outdoors or leave livestock feed containers open in sheds or barns.
  • Do not feed, touch or handle wild animals and be cautious of stray dogs and cats
  • Teach children not to touch either live or dead wildlife (including bats) and to tell you when they have been bitten or scratched by a pet.
  • Call the Larimer Humane Emergency Animal Control line at 970-226-3647, Ext. 7, if you see a potentially rabid animal or have a pet that may have been exposed. Also contact your veterinarian without delay if you suspect direct contact between your pet or livestock and a potentially rabid animal.
  • Call your doctor or visit an emergency room immediately if you are bitten or scratched by an animal that seems sick or threatening.


Picture by vladeb, Flickr.