Rabies found in 6 animals in EDC; Officials advise keeping pets vaccinated
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — El Dorado County Animal Services is reminding residents to keep pets current on rabies vaccines and immediately notify them of any animal bite to a human or pet.
“All 58 counties in California are rabies endemic areas, which means that the rabies virus is always present in the community,” said Animal Services Chief Henry Brzezinski. “Rabies can be fatal. El Dorado County Animal Services strongly urges pet owners to vaccinate all dogs, as required by state law, as well as cats against rabies and to keep their pets under a watchful eye.”
In the past two months, El Dorado County Animal Services identified five skunks and one bat that tested positive for rabies. The most recent skunk was found in mid-May 2022 in the 9700 block of Biking Road in Greenwood. In April 2022, three rabid skunks were found – one in the 2500 block of Wakefield Place in Garden Valley, one in the 5200 block of Manhattan Creek in Garden Valley, and one in the 3200 block of Fort Jim Road in Placerville. A rabid bat was found in April 2022 in the 6500 block of Carriage Lane in Somerset. At the end of March 2022, one rabid skunk was found in the 4000 block of Cedar Drive in Georgetown.
Animal Services has reports of rabid animals each year. In 2021, Animal Services identified 11 animals (three bats, eight skunks) that tested positive for rabies in the county. Historically, most rabid animals in the county are identified on the West Slope, with smaller numbers reported in the South Lake Tahoe area, according to Brzezinski.
According to Mary Hill, Animal Services health program specialist, pet owners should ensure that both dogs and cats are vaccinated.
“Keeping cats up-to-date on their rabies vaccine is important due to the fact that many people keep their cats outdoors, and cats are especially interested in wildlife,” said Hill. “Also, puppies may now be vaccinated as early as three months of age; the law changed several years ago regarding the age when puppies can be vaccinated against rabies. In addition, and importantly, Animal Services advises that if you or your pet has contact with a suspected rabid animal that you report it immediately so that rabies testing can be performed.”
Rabies is a virus spread through the bite and saliva of an infected animal. It is usually fatal to pets and humans if not treated shortly after exposure. While any animal can become infected with the rabies virus, bats, skunks and foxes are the animals most commonly found to carry the virus. Comprehensive vaccination programs in the United States have meant that rabies among domestic pets is now uncommon.
To prevent the spread of rabies:
— Maintain current rabies vaccinations for dogs, cats and livestock.
— Keep property free of garbage, stored bird seed and leftover pet food to avoid attracting wild animals.
— Keep pet doors closed at night to prevent entry of wild animals into the home.
— Never approach, pick up, feed or interact with unfamiliar dogs, cats or wild animals.
— Don’t approach an animal that appears sick or aggressive. Report it to Animal Services.
— Don’t touch a dead animal with bare hands.
— Call Animal Services if a domestic or wild animal shows signs of rabies (such as staggering, confusion, lack of fear or aggressive behavior).
— Notify Animal Services immediately if a person or pet is bitten or exposed to a suspected rabid animal.
— Immediately notify Animal Services if you find a bat alive or dead in your bedroom.
For more information about rabies or Animal Services, visit http://www.edcgov.us/animalservices. To reach Animal Services by phone, call 530-573-7925 in South Lake Tahoe.
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