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Colorado skunk tests positive for rabies

In the last few years skunks have been a significant source of rabies throughout eastern Colorado, now including the Front Range.

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — A skunk found in Boulder County has tested positive for rabies.

A property owner observed the skunk outside for a couple of days and noticed it behaving oddly before it was found dead, according to Boulder County Public Health (BCPH).

City of Boulder Animal Control retrieved the deceased skunk who notified BCPH for testing on Monday, Aug. 23.

BCPH said the skunk had no known contact with humans or animals, but a veterinarian from the Colorado Department of Agriculture completed a rabies risk assessment and a follow-up for nearby livestock.

BCPH is asking residents to call 303-441-1564 if they or any domestic animal had any contact with a skunk in the area, or if a pet has had a recent bite wound from an unknown animal.

“Making sure rabies vaccinations are up-to-date for dogs, cats, horses and livestock is the most important and effective way to protect both animals and humans from contracting rabies,” said Carol McInnes, BCPH Environmental Health Specialist. “Sadly, pets with no rabies vaccination that come into contact with a rabid animal may need to be euthanized or placed in a four-month quarantine at the owner’s expense.”

Public health tips to reduce exposure to rabies:

  • Do not handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. Contact animal control to collect the animal.
  • Do not feed wildlife.
  • Teach children to observe wildlife from a distance and to notify an adult if there is a wild animal in the area or if they are bitten or scratched.
  • Eliminate food sources for wild animals by not feeding pets outdoors, closing pet doors especially at night, and tightly closing garbage cans and feed bins.
  • Ensure that your pets, horses and livestock are up to date on their rabies vaccinations.
  • Maintain control of pets by keeping cats and ferrets indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision.
  • Thoroughly wash any wound caused by an animal with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.

For more information about rabies, visit BoulderCountyVector.org or call 303-441-1564.  

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