Pets can get rabies

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. Animal Services recently identified a family pet, a domestic cat, that tested positive for rabies.

Henry Brzezinski, Chief of Animal Services for Eldorado County, said, “Although we do not often see cats, dogs, and other pets with rabies due to robust local rabies vaccination programs, it is important to emphasize that any mammal can be exposed to rabies. “. “Rabies can be fatal to both animals and humans, so keeping pets up to date with their rabies vaccinations, including cats, dogs, and livestock, is critical.”

According to Brzezinski, the cat has not had a rabies vaccination and is believed to have been exposed while roaming outside his residence at 4700 of Viking Road in Greenwood in mid-June. Animal Services has identified rabid skunks in the Greenwood area in the past, and most recently identified a rabid skunk near 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, he took her to the vet who then suggested Testing the cat for rabies due to 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 pets identified with rabies from 2014 through 2021 in multiple California counties.

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 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 approach 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 your 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 a suspected animal with 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 on rabies or visit Animal Services 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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