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Here in, Boulder, Colorado we all avoid skunks for the horrific smell they produce, but there is another reason also: Rabies! Traditionally in Colorado, bats have been the main source of infection, but in recent years the number of skunks with rabies has been increasing and now, according to the Colorado Dept of Public Health, they are considered the main reservoir for Rabies in Colorado. So far in 2018, 283 animals from Colorado have tested positive for rabies. Of those, 139 rabid animals were known or strongly suspected of exposing 297 domestic pets, 92 livestock animals, and 89 people. See the table at this website for details:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vQnkDF5PIj0q_esEyNYIGSXZ0FWOTo7Z39zcc47jadB_MFWjLGIKd59OzlOBM58tumGFbVXe4R11ccA/pub

Below are some important and interesting facts about Rabies and how to keep your pet safe from this deadly virus.

What is Rabies? Rabies is a virus that can potentially infect any mammal and is nearly always deadly. It causes severe inflammation of the nervous system which usually leads to abnormal behavior in an animal.

How does an animal or person get Rabies? Rabies is transmitted through saliva from a bite of an infected animal. The virus can also be transmitted if saliva from an infected animal enters a cut scratch or other open wound.

Why is skunk rabies such a concern? Beginning in 2007, rabies in skunks began to spread through eastern Colorado and along the Front Range, according to the Weld Department of Health. Our pets have more chance of interacting with skunks due to their location and the fact that skunks often seek shelter and food in areas where pets and livestock may live.

How can I protect my pet from Rabies? The two most important things you can do are: 1) vaccinate your pet for Rabies (this vaccine must be given by a veterinarian and updated according to state laws) and 2) avoid contact with wildlife.

Feel free to call us at North Boulder Companion Animal Hospital with any questions for Drs Sue Patton, Shelle Raines, and Mike Skarie or our Certified Techs Nikki, Dana and Ally. You can also find more detailed information at the following websites:

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/rabies

https://www.bouldercounty.org/families/disease/rabies/