TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - More than a dozen animals are in quarantine after being exposed to a confirmed case of rabies in Amado, according to a news release from the Pima Animal Care Center.
A woman called PACC on Tuesday, June 4, to say she and several animals had been exposed to a possibly rabid skunk some time around May 21.
15 cats and kittens as well as two dogs were removed from the property by Animal Protection Officers, while the woman, her family members, neighbors and the animals are all being treated for rabies after the possible exposure.
According to PACC the two dogs will be on 45 day quarantine, as they have had prior rabies vaccines, while the cat/kittens will all be quarantined 120 days due to no previous vaccine history. The possibly rabid skunk has died and was buried. Sadly, four kittens died, with two testing positive for rabies.
PACC Chief Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Wilcox recommends those living in areas where pets may come into contact with wildlife get a booster rabies vaccine for their pets and livestock, and that they keep them under close observation over the next several months, looking for any changes in behavior or health.
PACC also recommends all Pima County residents vaccinate their dogs and cats against rabies, whether they reside indoors or out.
Rabies is found in skunks and other wildlife fairly regularly in Southern Arizona. However, this is the first case involving a domestic animal in several years. All pet owners in Pima County should ensure their pets have up-to-date rabies vaccines.
Rabies is a disease caused by the rabies virus. People and mammals can get rabies from contact with saliva delivered into a bite or scratch from an infected animal. It may take a few weeks to months for symptoms to show in infected people and animals. However, once symptoms of rabies start, the disease is nearly always fatal.
If you or someone you know recently came into contact with wildlife behaving erratically, notify the Pima County Health Department immediately at (520) 724-7797. Staff will help make sure you and your family are not at risk of getting rabies.
Additionally, if you see a skunk, bat or any other wildlife acting oddly or on the ground, do not touch it. Stay away and immediately notify PACC. It is not normal for a wild animal to be friendly with people, so stay away from any animal that seems unafraid.
Also, remember to protect your pets. If your cat or dog is not current on their rabies vaccinations, be sure to vaccinate them as soon as possible. PACC has several upcoming vaccine clinics. Click here for information.