08-07-17 CSU SEA Extension: “Rabies on the Rise”

CSU SEA Ext Says...logoCSU SEA Extension: Rabies on the Rise

Last  week the Colorado Department of Agriculture Animal Health
Division sent out a release indicating that the number of reported rabies cases
in Colorado was on the rise in 2017.

So far in 2017, 93 animals have tested positive. Sixty of those animals are
known to have exposed domestic pets, livestock, and humans. Early in the
summer (March, April, and May), skunks were the primary source of positive
labs tests. Since that time (May, June, and July) bats have taken the lead in
positive test results. Other wildlife (coyotes, foxes, etc.) are scattered
throughout the year. As would probably be expected the domestic animals,
specifically dogs, show a spike in positive test that correlates with the spike in
skunk positive test results.

The majority of the tested cases have been along the Front Range, however
there have also been some from Southeast Colorado, especially with skunks,
coyotes, and foxes. All species of livestock are susceptible to rabies, with
cattle and horses being the most often reported. Vaccines are species specific
and are currently available for dogs, cats, horses, sheep, cattle, ferrets,
raccoons, and coyotes. Extra label use is allowed by veterinarians only, but if
given to food animals, a substantially extended withdrawal period is
recommended and must be adhered to. As with all vaccination programs that
require an annual booster, many re-vaccination programs have been
inconsistent in following the booster protocol.

Residents are reminded that any change in animal behavior should be noted.
Animals exposed to rabies may present as either more aggressive or tamer
than usual. Nocturnal animals (skunks, foxes, etc.) may be seen out during
the day staggering, trembling, or weak. Rabies or suspicion of rabies is a
reportable disease in Colorado. Normal behavior for wildlife is to avoid
human contact. If you find wildlife that do not attempt to flee or otherwise
appear injured – DO NOT approach the animal and try to help it. Contact
your local animal control officer or Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife.
The brain of the animal must be tested to confirm rabies.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment website at:
https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/rabies is a good source of
information on rabies and what to do if rabies is suspected.

For more information on or about rabies, contact your local Extension Office:
Baca County 719-523-6971, Bent County 719-456-0764, Cheyenne County 719-767-5716, Crowley County 719-267-5243, Kiowa County 719-438-5321, Otero County
719-254-7608, Prowers County 719-336-7734 or your local health department.

Find us on the web at: http://www.extension.colostate.edu/SEA. CSU Extension offers up-to-date, unbiased, research-based information to families in Southeast Colorado. CSU Extension programs are available to all without discrimination.

Submitted to BARN Media by: 

Bruce Fickenscher
CSU Extension/Southeast Area