Domestic pets can also get rabies

(placerville, california) – El Dorado County Animal Services reminds residents to keep pets up to date on rabies vaccinations and notify Animal Services immediately of any animal bite to a human or pet. Last week, Animal Services identified a family pet, a domestic cat who tested positive for rabies. “While we do not often see cats, dogs, and other pets with rabies due to aggressive local rabies vaccination programs, it is important to emphasize that any mammal can be exposed,” said Henry Brzezinski, Chief of Animal Services for El Dorado County. . “Rabies can be fatal to both animals and humans, so keeping pets on rabies vaccinations, including cats, dogs, and livestock, is critical.”

According to Brzezinski, the cat did not have a rabies vaccine and is believed to have been exposed while roaming outside her residence at 4700 Viking Road in Greenwood in mid-June 2022. Animal Services identified a rabid skunk in the Greenwood area in the past and a rabid skunk was recently identified near From the family home in mid-May 2022, when the family dog ​​came into contact with the skunk. (The dog was not currently on the rabies vaccine, so he was vaccinated, and quarantined for six months at home in a double enclosure. He is currently showing no signs of illness.) When the cat died suddenly at home, the owners took her to the vet who He then suggested testing the cat for rabies by looking at a rabid skunk recently identified near the house. The family and veterinarian’s office has consulted with animal services on any further actions required regarding potential exposure.

Rabies is endemic in all 58 counties of California, including El Dorado County. Animal Services identifies animals with rabies each year, although there have been no reports of pets with rabies in El Dorado County for at least the past 10 years. Statewide data reports from the California Department of Public Health show the following pets identified with rabies from 2014 through 2021 in multiple California counties:

2021: 1 Humboldt cat

2020: one cat Amador; 1 San Joaquin dog

2019: 1 Fresno cat; 1 cat Tulum

2017: two dogs Amador; 1 Trinity dog; 1 Sacramento cat

2016: 3 cats: 1 Contra Costa, 1 Humboldt, 1 Sacramento; 3 dogs: 1 amador, 1 bot, 1 humboldt

2015: 1 Mendocino cat; 1 monterey cat

2014: 2 cats: 1 Amador, 1 San Joaquin; 1 Sacramento dog

In 2021, Animal Services identified a total of 11 animals (three bats and eight skunks) that tested positive for rabies in El Dorado County. Between March and June 2022, a total of seven animals with rabies (six skunks and one bat) were found in El Dorado County. Two rabid skunks were found in Placerville, two in Garden Valley, one in Georgetown, and one in Greenwood. A rabid bat was found in Somerset.

Rabies is a virus that spreads through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through the bite of its victim. It is usually fatal to pets and humans if not treated shortly after exposure. While any mammal can be infected with the rabies virus, bats, skunks, and foxes are the most common animals that carry the virus. Extensive vaccination programs in the United States mean 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 clear of litter, stored bird seed, and leftover pet food to avoid attracting wild animals.
  • Keep pet doors closed at night to prevent wild animals from entering the home.
  • Never approach, pick up, feed, or interact with dogs, cats, or wild animals.
  • Do not go near an animal that appears sick or aggressive. Report this to animal services.
  • Do not touch a dead animal with bare hands.
  • Call animal services if a pet or wild animal shows a sign of rabies (such as startle, disorientation, fearlessness, or aggressive behavior).
  • Notify Animal Services immediately if a person or pet has been bitten or exposed to an animal suspected of having rabies.
  • Maintain your property’s attic, foundation and ventilation system to ensure they are properly closed to prevent wildlife invasion.
  • Notify Animal Services immediately if you find a live or dead bat in your bedroom.

For more information about rabies or animal services, visit To access Animal Services by phone, call (530) 621-5795 in Diamond Springs or at (530) 573-7925 in South Lake Tahoe.

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