The New Mexico Department of Health says five skunks in eastern New Mexico have tested positive for rabies. De Baca, Curry, Quay and Colfax counties have reported rabid skunks.
The NMDOH is now warning pet owners throughout the state to make sure their dogs, cats horses and other livestock get rabies vaccinations. Residents should be aware of strangely behaving wild animals or oddly acting unowned domestic animals. Pet owners should also keep their four-legged friends on a leash to prevent exposure to a wild animal.
At this time, epidemiologists with the NMDOH are coordinating with the Department of Game and Fish officers to heighten surveillance of wild animals. They are also working with local animal control agencies to evaluate feral and unowned domestic animals living near the location the rabid skunks were found.
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.