SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A skunk that interacted with a dog in Curry County has tested positive for rabies, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. This is the fourth confirmed rabid skunk case in Curry County.
There was no human exposure to the disease and since the dog was up to date on rabies vaccination, the pet only required an additional booster. The NMDOH says a fox was also reported positive for rabies in May.
Rabies is a deadly viral disease that can affect all mammals and can be prevented, but not cured. The large majority of rabies cases reported in the United States to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like skunks, bats, foxes, and raccoons.
The following guidelines can help protect you and your family from rabies:
- Stay away from wild or other unfamiliar animals. Don’t touch wild animals (alive or dead). Share this important message with your children.
- Be a good friend to your pet: up-to-date rabies vaccinations and current license tags and identification for your pet could save his/her life!
- Healthy puppies and kittens can receive their first rabies vaccination at 12 weeks of age to ensure they are protected early in life.
- Keep pets on a leash at all times. If your cat or dog has been bitten or scratched, call your pet’s veterinarian, even if the wound is superficial.
- Avoid feeding wild animals to prevent animal bites and to prevent familiarity with human foods. Healthy wild animals that lose their fear of humans can be mistaken as being sick and destroyed unnecessarily.
- If you or a loved-one are bitten by an animal, or come into contact with an animal’s saliva, wash the exposed site immediately with soap and water for 10-15 minutes. Be sure to report the bite to local Animal Control and seek medical care as soon as possible.
- If you see a sick or dead wild animal, or any wild animal acting abnormally in your area, report it to New Mexico Department of Game and Fish at 505-476-8000.
- If you see an unowned cat or dog acting abnormally call your local Animal Control or Sheriff’s office. Rabid animals may show no fear of people and may even seem friendly or become aggressive.