El Dorado County Animal Services is urging residents to take steps to protect themselves and pets from rabies, noting that a third rabid skunk has been identified in the county this year.
A rabid skunk was found Friday on Pleasant Valley Road, near Grindstone Road and White Rose Lane, in the Pleasant Valley area southeast of Placerville. An Animal Services officer was called to the area about noon regarding a report of a skunk showing signs of rabies. The officer retrieved the skunk and sent it to the El Dorado County Public Health Laboratory for testing. The test results came back positive for rabies on Monday, according to a county news release.
“Animal Services is not aware of any reports of human or pet contact with the rabid skunk at this time,” Henry Brzezinski, chief of Animal Services, said in a written statement. “However, we did want to let the community know as a precaution.”
Two rabid skunks were identified in the county in February. The first was found Feb. 10 in Placerville and the second, Feb. 27, in the community of El Dorado. In 2014, 14 rabid skunks were found in various locations throughout El Dorado County, officials said.
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Animal Services officials remind residents to make sure their pets are current on their rabies vaccinations and to report all animal bites and possible rabies exposures.
“Rabies is spread through the bite and saliva of an infected animal. Without a vaccination and prompt bite reporting, pets can acquire rabies and pass it on to people and pets,” Brzezinski said. “Left untreated, rabies is almost always fatal.”
To prevent rabies, Animal Services officials advise residents to:
▪ Keep dogs, cats and other pets current on rabies vaccinations.
▪ Keep property free of garbage, stored bird seed and leftover pet food to avoid attracting wild animals.
▪ Do not approach, pick up or handle any unfamiliar dogs, cats or wild animals.
▪ Report any exposure to bats, which are common carriers of rabies in California.
▪ Call Animal Services if you see an animal exhibiting signs of rabies.
▪ Notify Animal Services immediately if any person or animal is bitten by a suspected rabid animal or an animal that may have been exposed to rabies.
Rabid animals usually stop eating and drinking, and may want to be left alone, officials said. After these initial symptoms, the animal may become vicious or show signs of paralysis, such as difficulty walking, staggering or confusion. Once the animal shows signs of paralysis, the disease spreads quickly and the animal dies.
Rabies is estimated to kill more than 50,000 people worldwide each year, with most cases occurring in undeveloped countries that don’t have rabies control programs.
For more information about rabies, including prevention tips, go to www.edcgov.us/animalservices. To contact Animal Services, call (530) 621-5795 in the Placerville area or (530) 573-7925 in South Lake Tahoe.
Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.