Rabid Skunk confirmed in Livingston County

Here is an article from the Livingston County News:

Rabid skunk confirmed in Livingston County

The Livingston County Department of Health reports that a skunk killed in northeastern Livingston County has tested positive for rabies.

The skunk attacked a litter of kittens in the front yard of a Lima home during daylight hours on July 29. A resident of the property killed the skunk and submitted it to the Health Department for analysis.

“Although the incident occurred in the Town of Lima, rabies can be found throughout Livingston County,” said Dan Bowlds, senior public health sanitarian for the Department of Health.

The Department of Health learned July 31 that the sunk was positive for rabies. The news was announced Aug. 20 in a news release from the Department of Health.

Rabies is a deadly virus that attacks the central nervous system of mammals. It is largely found in raccoons, foxes, skunks, and bats in many areas, including Livingston County.

Other mammals, including unvaccinated dogs and cats, are at risk for getting rabies. State law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets be vaccinated at 4 months of age.

The Health Department reminds residents that caution should be taken around any unfamiliar animals. Wild animals especially should be avoided.

Signs of rabies in wildlife can include: inability to walk, appearance of “drunkenness,” unwillingness to drink water or eat, frothing at the mouth, aggressive behavior and/or a massive swing in temperament.

The best form of defense for keeping your pet safe is to keep them vaccinated. An unvaccinated pet that comes into contact with a rabid animal must be kept in strict confinement for 6 months or euthanized.

Here are some tips to help prevent rabies:

— Teach children to stay away from unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.

— Wash any wound from an animal thoroughly with soap and water, and seek medical attention immediately.

— If your family or your pet has been exposed to a bat, capture the bat and have it tested for rabies. If you awaken to find a bat in your bedroom, or a bat is present in the room of an unattended or sleeping child or in a room where someone has a mental impairment, seek medical advice and have the bat tested.

— Be a responsible pet owner by keeping your pet’s vaccinations current.

A free rabies clinic for dogs, cats and ferrets is scheduled Sept. 17, 2013 at the Livingston County Highway Department complex at Hampton Corners.

If you have any questions or would like further information on rabies, please contact the Livingston County Department of Health at 243-7280 or 335-1717.

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