Mar 23, 2010 9:54 PM by Elaine Sheridan
Skunk rabies cases are on the rise in Colorado. Last year in El Paso County there were several cases in skunks, and the disease was also confirmed in a horse, mountain lion, and a fox with 41 confirmed cases statewide in 2009.
Already this year we have had 19 cases including 2 in El Paso County and for the first time in 20 years a case in Douglas County. This is very concerning because skunk movement is very limited in the winter months, and when the weather gets warmer and the skunks start moving more, the numbers will surely rise. While bat rabies is fairly common, skunk rabies is not, at least it wasn't until the last few years when cases have steadily been on the rise and moving closer to Front Range urban areas, a problem the Colorado Department of Public Health and Safety says has "enormous health repercussions."
That is why it is critical that all your pets need to be up to date on their vaccinations, and if you have livestock you should probably consider vaccinating them as well .
In most areas rabies shots are required in dogs. If your pet is exposed to rabies, there is not a blood test for diagnosis. Animals unvaccinated and exposed could require a costly six month quarantine if even available. If an animal bites another animal or a person and has not had shots you could be required to euthanize your pet for the necessary brain tissue sample needed to confirm whether or not your pet has rabies.