A skunk tested positive for rabies this month after an animal to animal exposure near Heizer, according to a Facebook post from the Golden Belt Humane Society:
“All necessary precautions have been taken, but we wanted to make sure folks knew rabies is here in our area.
“In 2019, several skunks and a cat in The City of Great and Barton County tested positive for the rabies virus in which some were caused by animal to animal exposure and some caused by animal to human exposure. We have definitely seen an increase of positive cases due to exposures or even viewing rabid and abnormal behaviors of skunks. Raccoons, fox and bats are other known carriers of the virus as well, but we are seeing more skunks as the culprits, more so in our area,” the post advises.
“Exposures are costly, rather it be your animal spending 10 days to 6 months in quarantine, the medical bills associated if a human was bitten, and the list doesn’t stop there. Owners sometimes opt to quarantine their animals, others make the hard decision to euthanize due to severity of the bite and/or the costs of quarantining the animal/s. It’s not an easy decision, but it is choice we have as pet owners when it comes to vaccinating our pets as required.
“When any animal bites, there is a standard protocol in which to investigate the bite. Animal bites are reported not only locals hospitals, emergency rooms or family doctors offices, but they are also reported to law enforcement, Animal Control, the pet owners veterinary doctor, Barton County Health Department and Kansas Department of Health and Environment. These protocols are put in place for the public’s safety and educate why rabies vaccines for our pets are required. Bites can happen anywhere, anytime and it is best to be prepared as our ordinances and resolutions require.”
The humane society post reminds pet owners that most veterinary clinics send reminders when vaccinations are due, and most areas are subject to regulations requiring rabies vaccinations for dogs, cats, ferrets and horses. “Please, help keep your pets safer and get them vaccinated as required.”