Breckenridge Texan

Rabid skunk attacks dogs, bites homeowner near Lake Hubbard Creek

Rabid skunk attacks dogs, bites homeowner near Lake Hubbard Creek
May 11
13:45 2020

Stephens County has reported it first confirmed rabies case for 2020 after a rabid skunk attacked some dogs and also bit their owner at a home near Hubbard Creek Lake on Friday, May 1.

According to local veterinarian Dr. Gary Fambro, who also serves as the Stephens County Rabies Officer, the skunk attacked the dogs, and when the owner tried to separate the animals, he was bitten by the rabid skunk. The dog owner will have to undergo the series of rabies shots, and his dogs will have to be quarantined for a long time, Fambro said.

“Believe it or not, the skunk actually jumped on the dogs inside the people’s house,” Fambro said. “They were doing some remodeling on their house and some of the floor was pulled up, the skunk came in, and voila — it was definitely positive.”

Fambro said it’s important that people in the county be aware that there is rabies in Stephens County. Although this is the first confirmed case of the year, he said there were some other skunks earlier in the year that could have had rabies, but there was no human contact and no animal exposure, so they weren’t tested. Those skunks were located in different areas of the county.

“It’s just a cost factor for people to send them off,” he said.

Skunks are out and about this time of year, and everyone needs to be aware and be prepared, Fambro said.

“People need to be cautious and make sure their animals are vaccinated, because the animals are the buffer between the wildlife and the humans.” he said. “And I can tell you that a set of shots for people is many thousands of dollars,”

The human rabies series shots are now regular shots and not the old 21 shots people used to get in the stomach, but they are still very expensive, he said.

Fambro said the number of rabies cases in Stephens County varies each year. A couple years ago there were five or six cases and nearly all of them were in the city limits on the east side of Breckenridge near East Elementary. Also that year, there were other rabies cases further over in the eastern part of Stephens County near Ranger.  However, he said, last year there were no reported cases that he knows of.

“It’s here every year, and the main thing is for people to be cautious,” he said. “You know that old rule about seeing a skunk out during the daylight that isn’t normal. Well, that’s not exactly the case, but it can be. If they (skunks) are not scared of you, that’s the concern.”

Story by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

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