Owners urged to protect pets after rabid skunk found in Lakewood

KUSA - A skunk in Lakewood has tested positive for rabies. According to the Jefferson County health officials, the skunk was found near Wadsworth and 16th Avenue. 

Health officials say the skunk came into contact with a dog that was up to date with its vaccines. The skunk was given to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and tested positive for rabies.

According to Jefferson County officials, the skunk is just one of several animals in the county that has tested positive for rabies already this year.

RELATED: JeffCo officials tell pet owners to watch for rabies

In 2016, 88 animals in Colorado -- both wild and domestic were confirmed 'rabies positive' by the CDPHE laboratory. Ten of those were from Jefferson County. 

Jefferson County health officials urge the public to vaccinate all domestic pets and valuable livestock against rabies -- and make sure vaccinations are up to date. 

In a release, officials listed these additional precautions: 

  • Avoid contact with any wild animals, especially any that act unusually. A healthy wild animal will generally avoid human contact.
  • Teach children to stay away from all wild animals, stray domestic pets or any dead animals and tell an adult if they are scratched or bitten.
  • Wildlife suffering from rabies will often be out during the day, act aggressively and violently approach people or pets. Rabid wildlife might also stumble or have trouble walking.
  • Do not let pets roam freely, since this can increase the chance that they could be exposed without your knowledge.
  • Contact your veterinarian if your dog or cat is bitten or scratched by a wild animal.
  • If a person has been bitten or scratched by a wild mammal, they should wash the area thoroughly with soap and water, seek immediate medical attention and notify their local public health agency. Prompt medical treatment is key to preventing rabies after a possible exposure.
  • Do not feed wild animals, since this reduces their natural fear of humans
  • Do not leave pet food or livestock feed outside or feed more than your outdoor pet will finish in one feeding. 

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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