BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – A puppy in Bernalillo County tested positive for rabies, marking the first reported case of rabies in a dog in New Mexico since 2013 and the first occurrence in the county since 2006.

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) said the puppy had recently arrived in New Mexico and may have contracted the virus in Texas. NMDOH said there is no ongoing risk to the public at this time.

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According to an updated press release, the affected puppy had to be euthanized due to the severity of the symptoms. None of the additional animals required euthanasia because their owners had kept them up to date with their rabies vaccines.

The six people who had contact with the puppy are receiving post-exposure rabies shots as a precautionary measure. Animals that came in contact with the puppy were up to date on their rabies vaccines and received booster shots. They will be monitored for 45 days.

“Young puppies are especially vulnerable to various infectious diseases, including rabies, parvovirus, and distemper, until they’ve completed their full vaccine series,” said Erin Phipps, DVM, MPH, state public health veterinarian. New Mexico state law requires rabies vaccination for dogs and cats over three months of age and is strongly recommended for other animals such as horses. 

The puppy in this case showed symptoms typical of rabies, including a lack of coordination, tremors, and aggression. The puppy had not been vaccinated for rabies as she was not yet old enough to receive the vaccine.   

NMDOH said rabies is relatively rare in the state, and animals can contract the disease from local wildlife or while residing or visiting regions of the country where it is more prevalent. 

For more info about rabies, visit the New Mexico Department of Health website.