Breckenridge Texan

Local puppy tests positive for rabies; authorities advise residents to take precautions

Local puppy tests positive for rabies; authorities advise residents to take precautions
June 29
16:36 2022

By Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

A local puppy has tested positive for rabies after showing signs of the disease earlier this month.

The Texas Department of Health State Services has advised the Breckenridge Animal Control of a positive rabies case in a family dog near the 400 block of West Williams in Breckenridge. The dog showed active signs of rabies and was summited for testing, which returned positive results on Wednesday, June 29, 2022, according to a news release from the City of Breckenridge Animal Control Officer Nicole Dooley.

The family dog was a 6-7 month old husky mix. It is unknown at this time how the dog was infected.

Dr. Gary Fambro, a local veterinarian and the Stephens County Rabies Officer, said that it’s probable that the dog contracted the disease from a skunk. “Nearly all the rabies here, that we see, is related to skunks,” he said. “That’s the natural reservoir of the rabies virus. And, doggone it, we’ve just got to vaccinate everything. And, my concern is the feral cat population. They’re not going to get vaccinated.”

Anyone in the area where the dog lived needs to be especially vigilant with their pets, Fambro said. The animal that the dog contracted the disease from may still be out there. Skunks have the ability to live longer and continue transmitting rabies, he explained, warning local residents to be wary of any skunk they see out in the daytime. However, he said, there are several types of rabies, and rabid animals may not show the symptoms that people typically think of.

Rabies is a preventable disease, the DSHS said in the City of Breckenridge news release, and it recommends that individuals take the following steps to prevent rabies exposure:

• Anyone in possession or control of a dog or cat must get the animal vaccinated against rabies by 16 weeks of age by a licensed veterinarian, and must have them vaccinated annually.
• Pet owners can reduce the possibility of pets being exposed to rabies by keeping them fenced and not letting them roam free.
• Do not touch or otherwise handle wild or unfamiliar animals, including cats and dogs, even if they appear friendly.
• Do not keep your pet’s food or water outdoors; bowls can attract wild and stray animals.
• Do not feed feral animals, including cats, as the risk of rabies in wildlife is significant.
• Spaying or neutering your pet may reduce the tendency to roam or fight and, thus, reduce the chance they will be exposed to rabies.
• Keep your garbage securely covered to keep wild animals away.
• Consider vaccinating livestock and horses as well. It is recommended to consult with your private veterinarian if you have any questions regarding whether your animal(s) should be vaccinated against rabies.

For additional information, visit the website https://www.dshs.texas.gov.

If you encounter a wild animal behaving aggressively or an animal that appears to be sickly, contact the Breckenridge Police Department at 254-559-2211. Do not throw items at the animal or make loud banging noises, which may startle the animal and cause it to attack.

Fambro re-emphasized that getting pets, especially dogs and cats, vaccinated is the simplest way to protect pets and family members.

 


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