Rabid skunk in Larimer County appeared mauled by coyote, mountain lion or bobcat – From Denver Post May 4th

Denver Post Article May 4th

If you look at the Rabies Map from Larimer County you will see that it is coming south. A rabid skunk found in the foothills west of Fort Collins appeared to have been mauled by a coyote, bobcat, mountain lion or some other large animal, and might have passed the sickness to the predator, the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment said today.

Hikers in the foothills and other natural areas are being warned to keep their distance, even more so than usual, from all skunks and wild predators, as well as keeping their dogs on leashes.

The skunk had a variant strain of rabies never before found in Larimer County, local tests and those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

The skunk was found near LaPorte Avenue, about a mile from the nearest residence, the Larimer County health department stated. The Foothills Trail on the east ridge overlooking Horsetooth Reservoir is about a half mile west of this area.

“Unvaccinated dogs and cats that come into contact with a rabid animal will need to be euthanized or vaccinated and quarantined at a veterinary facility for 90 days, followed by another 90 days of home quarantine, which can be very expensive,” the health department stated. “Pets behind in their vaccinations must be vaccinated and quarantined at home for 90 days. Fully vaccinated pets need a booster and 45 days of observation at home.”

Anyone who sees a suspected rabid animal should call local authorities. In Larimer County, the Emergency Animal Control line is 970-226-3647, ext. 7.

Anyone who sees a potentially rabid animal or have a pet that may have been exposed. Also contact your veterinarian without delay if you suspect direct contact between your pet or livestock and a potentially rabid animal. Signs that indicate an animal might have rabies include aggressive behavior or unexpectedly tame behavior in a wild animal, difficulty walking and unstable movements, walking in circles and unusual vocal noises. Any skunk seen moving about during the day should be suspected of being sick.

Health authorities say that before 2007, bats accounted for most rabies cases in Colorado, but the past five years rabies in skunks has spread rapidly from eastern Colorado and along the Front Range. The only confirmed rabid skunk in Larimer County was found near the Wyoming border in late 2010. “Once skunk rabies is established in an area, it cannot be eradicated, and can sometimes spread infections to other common wild animals, such as foxes,” the Larimer County health department stated.

For more information:
Rabid skunk in Larimer County appeared mauled by coyote, mountain lion or bobcat – The Denver Posthttp://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_20552347/rabid-skunk-larimer-county-appeared-mauled-by-coyote#ixzz2VGrFamwt
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