Public Health Officials are promoting low-cost rabies vaccination clinics occurring in Pueblo this weekend. Currently, 13 skunks have tested positive for rabies in Pueblo this year, and pets have been euthanized after contact with rabid skunks.
“It is unfortunate that any person’s pet has to be put to sleep, but it can be necessary to prevent the pet from giving rabies to its owners,” stated Heather Maio, Environmental Health director at the Pueblo City-County Health Department. She added, “In the situation of your pet coming in contact with a rabid skunk, a pet’s life can be saved when it is up-to-date on its rabies vaccinations.”
This year, the pets that have come in contact with rabid skunks in Pueblo County:
Euthanized 13 pets (dogs)
(6 adult dogs and a litter of seven puppies)
Quarantine 39 pets (38 dogs and one cat)
Last week a skunk was reported to public health officials as wandering near Corwin Middle School around 3:15 pm when school was letting out in the afternoon. This is abnormal behavior for these animals which should be reported. Pets and humans should avoid wildlife. Two rabid skunks have been found in this area. The Health Department sent a letter home to all Corwin Middle School students explaining the risk of skunks and to contact the Health Department if their child comes in contact with a skunk.
“If you have pets, for the pet’s safety and your family’s, it is important to immediately check their rabies vaccination history to verify they are currently vaccinated,” instructed Maio. “If they are not current, get them vaccinated right away at your veterinarian or the low-cost clinics this weekend,” she added.
Saturday, May 19th, 2012
9:00am-12pm, noon, for the first 100 pets.
Pueblo Animal Services
4600 Eagleridge Place
Rabies shots offered ~$8.00
Sunday, May 20th, 2012
Southern Colorado Spay and Neuter Clinic
1700 S. Prairie
Rabies shots offered ~$10.00
This year to date, rabid skunks have been found in the following areas:
• Mineral Palace Park
• Minnequa Lake
• Mesa area
• Hyde Park/Wildhorse Creek area
• Fowler, a neighboring community of Pueblo County
Most rabid skunks found in Pueblo have been during daylight hours. The skunks were acting strange and behaving abnormally aggressive or tame and approaching other animals or humans. “Skunks actually climbed over a fence into a dog kennel, and others have been seen wandering into fenced yards at homes,” Maio explained.
“Be cautious of skunks, bats, foxes, raccoons, or other wildlife acting strangely during the daytime” stated Maio. “If animals are seen during the daytime, falling over, acting aggressive, hissing, or walking in circles avoid contact and call authorities,” she emphasized.
It is important to report wildlife that may have or has come in contact with your pet as the Health Department will help determine if the pet needs to receive a rabies vaccination booster or be quarantined. A quarantine can be a minimum of 10 days, often at a home, or may last up to six months at a facility. Quarantines are necessary to protect your family or other humans as well as other pets. Call to report a skunks and other suspicious wildlife you see during daylight hours.
Weekdays United States Department Agriculture (719) 250-9035
Weekends & Nights 9-1-1
A rabies vaccination must be given by a licensed veterinarian. The vaccination must be in the animal’s body for 28 days for the vaccine to be effective.
“Reduce the possibility that a skunk will be at your home. Remove areas in your yard where skunks may hide. Do not leave pet food and trash outside as it will attract wildlife,” Maio added.
Key rabies prevention steps:
• Ensure that dogs, cats and ferrets are vaccinated properly against rabies by a licensed veterinarian.
• Discuss vaccinating horses and other livestock with your veterinarian. If you believe your animal has been exposed to rabies, or possibly bitten by a rabid animal, immediately contact your veterinarian.
• Do not feed wild animals or allow your pets around them. Teach children to stay away from wild mammals. Do not keep pet food outside as that may attract wild animals.
• Protect all pets, particularly animals too young to be vaccinated, from contact with wild animals. Puppies and kittens should be vaccinated for rabies as early as three months old.
• Contact your veterinarian if your dog or cat is bitten or scratched by wild animals, such as skunks, bats, foxes or raccoons.
• Take steps to bat proof your home. http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/bats/management/index.html
• If you or a family member has been bitten by a wild or domestic animal, contact your physician immediately.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment updates their website every Friday with rabies data at www.cdphe.state.co.us/dc/zoonosis/rabies/.
Colorado State University veterinarians provide recommendations for livestock and horses to be vaccinated for rabies at: http://www.cvmbs.colostate.edu/ns/pubs/einsight/2010/december/rabiesvaccine.aspx.
Go to http://www.cdc.gov/rabies or http://www.pueblorabieswatch.blogspot.com for more information about rabies.