Department: Health & Environment
Release Date: Mar 22, 2013
The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment announced today that three skunks and one raccoon in Larimer County have tested positive for rabies over the past week. This makes a total of five skunks and one raccoon that tested positive for rabies in Larimer County since January 1 of this year.
A raccoon, spotted near 287 and Eisenhower Blvd. in Loveland was reported as acting “sluggish” and then tangling with a pet dog. The dog was up-to-date on its rabies vaccines and was put on 45-day home quarantine after the raccoon was tested and shown positive for rabies.
The first skunk this week was reported to the Health Department on March 20 after having an encounter with a pet dog, near the north end of Carter Lake. The subdivision in which it was found had a number of horses, cattle and family pets. The second and third skunks were in the Masonville area, both on properties with farm animals.
The Health Department reminds pet owners to keep their pet animals up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations to prevent putting their pets through lengthy quarantines or even euthanasia if they have an encounter with a rabid animal. Livestock owners should check with their veterinarians about rabies vaccinations for their horses, cattle, and other livestock.
“This has been a busy week for rabies,” said Rich Grossmann, environmental health specialist for the Health Department. “The sudden rise in cases reminds us that terrestrial rabies is a problem that won’t go away, so pet and livestock owners need to be vigilant about having their animals vaccinated.”
Grossmann stressed that if you see a skunk or bat that’s behaving strangely, keep your distance and call the Larimer Humane Society’s animal control number at 226-3647, #7.
Skunk rabies is a type of “terrestrial” rabies, meaning that it is carried by animals that travel on the ground, rather than by bats that fly. The skunk variant (type) of rabies first arrived in Larimer County in May, 2012. Until then, bats had been the main carrier of rabies in Larimer County.
Rabies in ground-dwelling animals increases the risk of rabies exposure to pets and livestock. All Larimer County residents are urgently advised to keep their pets, horses and livestock vaccinated and up-to-date, and to avoid wildlife that are out in daylight or are behaving strangely.
Unvaccinated pets that come into contact with a rabid animal will either need to be euthanized or vaccinated and quarantined at a veterinary facility for 90 days, followed by another 90 days of strict home quarantine, which can be very expensive. Pets that are behind in their vaccinations must be vaccinated and quarantined at home for 90 days. Fully vaccinated pets need a booster and 45 days of observation at home. There is no cure for rabies.
For more information on rabies, a map showing locations where rabid animals have been found, and steps you can take to lower your or your pets’ exposure to rabies, see:
Report strange acting animals to Larimer Humane Society animal control: 226-3647, #7