A rabid fox has been located near the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
El Paso County Public Health says this is the first rabid mammal to be found west of the interstate in the county.
The fox was found near High Lake View on July 20. Authorities say it was tested for rabies after it was hit by a car.
“Rabies has been found in animals in rural areas, and now it’s into urban areas,” Jill Law said in a statement. Law is the director of El Paso County Public Health.
No one is believed to have been exposed to the fox, but the health department is urging the public to take precaution now. Unvaccinated pets and livestock can pass the disease along to humans if they contract rabies.
“Rabies is a fatal disease, so we want to be sure that our community is hearing the message about how important it is to keep pets and livestock rabies vaccination up to date through a licensed veterinarian,” Law said.
The health department lists the following tips to help keep yourself and your loved ones--human and animal--safe:
• 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.
• Do not feed wild animals. Wild animals like skunks and foxes adapt to residential environments if food is available – please don’t leave pet food outdoors.
• Don’t touch or approach wild or stray animals.
• Teach children not to approach or play with unknown animals – dogs, cats, or any wild animals (dead or alive).
• 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.
• Contact an animal-control or wildlife conservation agency for assistance with “bat-proofing” your home. Information is also available at www.cdc.gov/rabies/bats/management/
• 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 when foxes and skunks are more active. 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
The health department says to keep an eye out for these symptoms in animals you come across:
• Healthy wild animals are normally afraid of humans. Foxes are active at night but can also be seen out during the day, especially if they are looking for food for their pups.
• Sick or diseased 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.
If you believe you have come across an animal that has contracted rabies, call Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 719-227-5200.
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