Five Skunks Positive for Rabies in Weld County
Published on June 07, 2021
Weld County, Colorado — In recent months, five skunks have tested positive for rabies. Two were between Milliken and Platteville, one east of Platteville and the other two in the Dacono/Frederick/Erie area. In all cases, the skunks acted aggressively, and four of the five cases involved dogs. Health officials continue to remind people not to touch or go near wild animals.
Any mammal, including humans, is at risk of contracting rabies. The risk of human exposure to rabies increases when pets and domestic animals are not properly vaccinated. Rabies can infect any wild animal, including foxes, raccoons, coyotes, bats, and skunks. Health officials stress that all domestic animals such as cats, dogs, horses, and livestock should be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Rabies vaccine for pets is widely available and can be found by contacting a licensed veterinarian or checking for low-cost rabies vaccine clinics in your area at Humane Societies and local farm and ranch stores.
Signs of rabies include increases in saliva and drooling, nocturnal animals seen out during the daytime, and slow or difficult movement. Other signs may be aggressive behavior, such as a wild animal attacking a domestic animal. Rabies is a disease caused by a virus that affects the nervous system. Rabies causes
inflammation of the brain and spinal cord and is nearly always fatal if not treated. The virus is transmitted in saliva through the bite of an infected animal. The virus can also be transmitted in saliva to an open cut, scratch or wound. If a person suspects they have been exposed to rabies, they should contact their medical provider immediately.
To prevent exposure to rabies:
- Do not feed, touch, or handle wild animals and be cautious of stray dogs and cats
- Have dogs, cats, horses, and livestock vaccinated regularly by a licensed veterinarian
- Be cautious if wild animals suddenly appear friendly or are walking or behaving erratically
- If your pet is in a fight with a wild animal, care should be taken in handling your pet until it is given a bath, or any blood or saliva is washed off. Human rabies exposure may occur from the saliva left on your pet from the wild animal.
Weld County has an interactive map of identified rabies cases in the county for reference.