Skunk tests positive for rabies in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A skunk tested positive for rabies near a popular Colorado Springs park in February.

The El Paso County Health Department says a dog found the skunk in a neighborhood just northeast of Palmer Park. The skunk was brought in for test and confirmed rabid on Feb. 16.

Thanks to a rabies vaccination prior to the encounter with the skunk, the dog was fine. The department isn't aware of any other pet or human exposures.

If you live in the area of Palmer Park, the department wants residents to be alert and keep their pets up to date on vaccinations.

So far in 2018, there have been five confirmed cases of rabies in skunks in El Paso County. Three were found in the Peyton area and two in Colorado Springs. In 2017 there were 28 animals that tested positive for rabies in El Paso County including 21 skunks and seven bats. In 2016 there were only three cases.

The health department advises people to follow these precautionary tactics when it comes to rabies:

-Vaccinate your pets against rabies by using a licensed veterinarian. Rabies shots need to be boosted, so check your pet’s records or talk to your veterinarian.

-When walking or hiking with your dog, protect them and wildlife by keeping your dog on a leash.

-Keep cats and other pets inside at night to reduce the risk of exposure to other domestic animals and wildlife. Keep dogs within your sight (in a fenced yard, or on leash) during the day while outside.

-Contact your veterinarian promptly if you believe your pet has been exposed to a wild animal.

-Do not touch or feed wild animals. Wild animals like skunks and foxes adapt to residential environments if food is available – please don’t leave pet food outdoors.

-If you or a family member is bitten or scratched by a wild or unknown animal, call your doctor and the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (719) 473-1741.

-If you encounter a lost or stray dog or cat, contact the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region for options (719) 473-1741.

-Contact an animal-control specialist for assistance with “bat-proofing” your home. Information is also available by clicking here.

The health department also provided these tips on how to recognize sick wildlife:

-Healthy wild animals are normally afraid of humans.

-Sick animals often do not run away when spotted by people.

-Wildlife suffering from rabies will often act aggressively and violently approach people or pets.

-However, sometimes rabid animals are overly quiet and passive and want to hide. If they are hiding, leave them alone. Rabid wildlife might also stumble or have trouble walking.

Click here to file a bit report.