Department: Health & Environment
Release Date: Mar 30, 2013
The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment has reported for the first time that a fox in Larimer County has been confirmed to have rabies. The fox had gotten into a fight with a pet dog in Berthoud, in an area close to horse properties.
“Finding a fox with rabies shows that the infection is well-established across Larimer County and can be transmitted by animals other than skunks and bats,” said Rich Grossmann, environmental health specialist for the Health Department. “We’ve now seen rabies in animals from south in Berthoud to north in LaPorte.”
Three additional skunks also tested positive for rabies last week. One was found in LaPorte, one in north Fort Collins on Douglas Rd., and one near Glade Road in Loveland. A rabid skunk was also found in Weld County near the Larimer/Weld border in Windsor.
Because of possible exposures to rabid animals, two Larimer County residents have started preventive vaccination for rabies this week.
The Health Department reminds everyone to stay clear of sick or unusual-acting animals and report them to Larimer Humane Society animal control: 226-3647, #7
All pet owners are reminded to keep their animals up-to-date on rabies vaccinations. Keeping vaccinations current will prevent a loved pet from being euthanized or subjected to a lengthy and expensive quarantine at the vet’s office if the pet has an encounter with a rabid animal. Livestock owners should check with their veterinarians about rabies vaccinations for their horses, cattle, and other livestock.
“Do not feed wildlife or try to care for animals that appear sick,” Grossmann said. “We have many foxes in Larimer County that people enjoy watching, but foxes and other animals can be infected by rabid skunks. Both adult and young animals can be infected, so it’s especially important in the spring to keep your distance and avoid touching even the cutest baby animals.”
The fox found this week and the raccoon found last week were most likely infected with the skunk variant of rabies. Rabid skunks first arrived in Larimer County in May, 2012. Prior to 2012, bats had been the main source of rabies in Larimer County. Rabies in ground-dwelling animals increases the risk of rabies exposure to pets, livestock, and humans.
“We strongly urge all Larimer County residents to keep their pets, horses, and livestock up-to-date on rabies vaccines,” said Dr. Adrienne LeBailly, director of the Health Department. “Vaccinating your animals is the most important thing you can do to prevent your pets and livestock from contracting this fatal infection and transmitting it to your family.”
Ten animals have tested positive for rabies in Larimer County since January 1, 2013, seven of them in the just the past two weeks. In Colorado, there have been 28 confirmed cases so far this year.
For more information on rabies and a map showing locations where rabid animals have been found in Larimer County, see:
Report sick or unusual-acting wildlife or other animals to Larimer Humane Society animal control: 226-3647, #7