Rabies is on the rise in Larimer County

Special to the Surveyor

Rabies is on the rise in Larimer County, and we all need to take steps to keep ourselves, our family, pets and community safe. From the information currently available for Larimer County there have been 25 confirmed cases of rabies in skunks and three cases in bats. In addition to wildlife, The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment is continuing to see multiple cases of humans and pets exposed to the disease in Northern Colorado.

The following is important information regarding rabies exposure for people and pets.

There is no cure for rabies: Rabies is an incurable disease that is often fatal in humans and always fatal in unvaccinated animals. The good news is that rabies is 100 percent preventable with proper vaccinations for pets, horses and livestock, as well as avoiding wildlife.

The State of Colorado takes rabies exposure very seriously: Because of the seriousness of this disease the State of Colorado has strict laws in place regarding rabies exposure to keep people and pets safe.

What happens to humans exposed to rabies? Based on the exposure risk, individuals who come into contact with a rabies-positive animal may need to receive post-exposure treatment to prevent the transmission of the disease. Without that post-exposure treatment, rabies is usually fatal in humans.

What happens to pets with current rabies vaccinations that are exposed to rabies? If your pet comes into contact with a rabies-positive animal and they are current on their vaccination they will need to receive an immediate vaccination and 45-day at-home observation to ensure they are healthy. Rabies vaccinations are the best way to protect your pet from this deadly disease.

What happens to pets that are not vaccinated against rabies? If your pet is not up to date on their rabies vaccination or has never received a rabies vaccination, the risk of transmission is much higher. There is no post-exposure treatment for animals like there is for humans. This means rabies in unvaccinated animals is always fatal. These animals may be humanely euthanized or will need to receive a series of vaccinations and be quarantined for up to 120 days. The first 90 days of this quarantine must be at a secured facility at the owner’s expense.

When to call animal protection and control:

  • If you or your pet has had physical contact with a wild rabies vector species animal such as a raccoon, skunk or bat
  • If you have a bat in your house
  • If you find an animal that is sick or acting strangely
  • If you or your pet have been bit by another companion animal, such as a cat or dog

Animal Protection and Control can be reached at 970.226.3647 ext. 7

For more information or to see the location of a selection of the rabid animals that have been tested in Larimer County visit larimer.org/health/communicable-disease/rabies/map-positive-rabies-animals#/map/2018.

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