March 4, 2016 By: Sandi Argo
The first official case of rabies in Jack County for 2016 was confirmed this week. According to Code Enforcement, Star Kinder, the infected animal (a skunk) was found in a back yard, within the city limits. Residents of the home found the animal out with family pets. Fortunately, the pets were current with their vaccinations. Even still, one of the pets will be in quarantine for about 45 days, just to be on the safe side.
Kinder says “With this time of year being the breeding season for skunks, they’ll be out prowling around in greater numbers. People need to make sure their pets are vaccinated.” Kinder also says even if your pet has been through the first round of shots (including the 3 year shots) they will need the booster to make certain they are covered. Fortunately, the annual Rabies Clinic is not far off. April 23rd is the date set for the annual clinic.
According to the Humane Society, the following may be true of rabies:
In the “furious” form, wild animals may appear to be agitated, bite or snap at imaginary and real objects, and drool excessively. In the “dumb” form, wild animals may appear tame and seem to have no fear of humans.
There are other signs, such as the animal appearing excessively drunk or wobbly, circling, seeming partially paralyzed, acting disorientated, or mutilating itself. However, most of these signs can also be indicative of other diseases like distemper or lead poisoning. There are few behavioral signs that are telltale of rabies alone.
If a typically nocturnal animal, such as a raccoon or skunk, is active during the day and exhibiting abnormal behavior, you should seek advice from your local animal control, humane society, wildlife rehabilitator, or state wildlife agency.
- Rabies travels from the brain to the salivary glands during the final stage of the disease—this is when an animal can spread the disease, most commonly through a bite.
- Rabies can’t go through unbroken skin. People can get rabies only via a bite from a rabid animal or possibly through scratches, abrasions, open wounds, or mucous membranes in contact with saliva or brain tissue from a rabid animal.
- The rabies virus is short-lived when exposed to open air—it can only survive in saliva and dies when the animal’s saliva dries up.
- If you handle a pet who has been in a fight with a potentially rabid animal, take precautions such as wearing gloves to keep any still-fresh saliva from getting into an open wound.
All mammals are at risk if bitten by a rabid animal. Kinder advises precaution to be the safest rule. “If you see a suspicious animal, within the city limits, call the City Hall and report it” Kinder says. “If you end up having to shoot the animal, try to avoid shooting the head”. Testing is done on the brain of the suspicious animal. Kinder adds “If you do shoot one and hit the head, don’t hesitate to turn it in. They can often work with very little”.