Rabid Skunk Found in Pollock Pines

FILE PHOTO of a skunk in Vermont. Courtesy Flickr user Alan Levine. Licensed under Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cogdog/8052177963/

A skunk that fought with three dogs in Pollock Pines last week has tested positive for rabies, officials say.

It’s the second rabid skunk to be found in El Dorado County this year.

El Dorado County Animal Services says the Pollock Pines skunk was showing “highly aggressive behavior” on Feb. 21, and came into the yard of a home in the 2900 block of Fir Drive, where it encountered three dogs.

The skunk was picked up by animal services for testing, and those tests on Tuesday confirmed the skunk had rabies, the county said.

Officials don’t believe the skunk came into contact with any humans, and the dogs it came into contact with were current on their rabies vaccines but are being quarantined and monitored to be safe.

The earlier rabid skunk was found on Autumn Way in Shingle Springs on Jan. 28, according to the county.

“It is absolutely critical that pet owners keep their pets current on their rabies vaccinations and report all animal bites and possible rabies exposures,” a press release quoted Animal Services Chief Henry Brzezinski as saying. “We find wild animals with the rabies virus in our county each year. Without a vaccination and prompt bite reporting, pets can acquire rabies and pass it on to people and other pets. Left untreated, rabies is almost always fatal.”

Early symptoms of rabies in animals include the animal being unwilling to eat and wanting to be left alone, the press release says. The illness progresses into the animal becoming aggressive or showing signs of paralysis. The disease kills 50,000 people around the world each year, mostly in underdeveloped countries without vaccination programs, according to El Dorado County officials.

The county offered these tips to safeguard pets against rabid wildlife:

  • Maintain current rabies vaccinations for pets
  • Keep property free of garbage, stored bird seed, and left over pet food to avoid attracting wild animals
  • Do not approach or handle any unfamiliar dogs, cats or wild animals
  • Report any exposure to bats; bats are one of the most frequent carriers of rabies in California
  • Call Animal Services if you see an animal that appears to be exhibiting signs of rabies
  • Notify Animal Services immediately of any person or animal bitten or potentially exposed to a rabid or suspected rabid animal

 [Photo caption: FILE PHOTO of a skunk in Vermont. Courtesy Flickr user Alan Levine. Licensed under Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cogdog/8052177963/]

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