Another rabid skunk discovered in Clinton County

— The skunk found in Peru had been in someone’s yard and wasn’t leaving the yard when shooed away like another animal might Mitchell said.

In another recent rabies incident on Oct. 3 a rabid skunk charged under a fence and attacked three dogs. As a result of the attack one of the dogs, who hadn’t had updated rabies vaccination, was put down.

“Not all animals infected with rabies will be aggressive or foaming at the mouth,” Mitchell said. “It can takes days after an animal becomes infected to show any signs of rabies, that’s why it’s very important to report any wild animal bites or suspicious animal activity.”

In a press release by the Clinton County Health Department, wild animals testing positive for rabies most frequently in NY State are: raccoons, skunks and bats. In the Clinton County area, the cat is the domestic animal most likely to be infected with rabies. Last year in NY State, thirty-nine cats were confirmed rabid, along with one dog, seven cattle and one goat. So far in 2012, eighteen cats have tested positive for rabies statewide along with five cattle, one goat and one horse.

Rabies precautions

The health department warns if a person is exposed to rabies, they must receive a series of shots to prevent the disease. Residents should take the following steps to protect themselves and their pets against rabies:

  1. Have pets vaccinated against rabies immediately. New York State law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies by 4 months of age. Vaccination is also recommended for livestock with frequent human contact.

  2. Report all animal bites to your local health department. It is very important that follow up is done on the biting animal to protect the health of the person bitten. If the biting animal is not available, the person bitten may need rabies vaccinations to prevent the disease.

  3. Report contact with bats, including finding the bat in the same room with a sleeping person, to your local health department.

  4. Spaying and neutering your pets decreases undesirable behavior, like aggression and roaming and reduces the number of unwanted animals that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.

  5. Secure all garbage in containers that will prevent access by wild animals.

  6. Do not feed wildlife or stray animals and discourage them from seeking food near your home. Feed pets indoors, leaving food outside will attract strays or wildlife.

  7. Use caution around wild animals especially skunks and raccoons. Talk to children now about not approaching wildlife, and to immediately tell a parent or adult if they see a wild animal.

  8. Puppies, kittens and other small pets should not be left outside alone (even in a fenced area)

  9. If your pet fights with a wild animal, put gloves on before you handle the pet. Call your veterinarian or the local health department for advice.

  10. If an unvaccinated pet comes in contact with a rabid or suspected rabid animal, the pet must be quarantined for six months or euthanized.

  11. Vaccinated pets that come in contact with a rabid or suspected rabid animal must be given a booster rabies vaccination within five days of the contact.

For more information on rabies, contact the Clinton County Health Department of 565-4870.

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