Two skunks found in Boulder County last week have tested positive for rabies.

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Published Thursday, June 30, 2022

Two rabid skunks discovered in Boulder County after contact with pets.

A resident discovered the first rabid skunk Wednesday, June 22, near Olde Stage Road in unincorporated Boulder County when their dog approached the dying animal and was bitten on the tail.

The second skunk was found on Thursday, June 23, near Aurora Avenue and Grant Place in Boulder, when residents heard their dog barking and growling at the sick animal near their front porch.

"Both infected skunks were discovered after a pet engaged with them. Encounters with sick animals can be dangerous and these recent instances provide a good reminder to keep a close eye on your pets and ensure their vaccinations are current. Luckily, in both cases, the pet's vaccinations were up to date, and the dogs only needed to get a rabies booster vaccination and be monitored for 45 days," said Carol McInnes, Boulder County Public Health Environmental Health Specialist. 

Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system and is almost always fatal unless it is treated before any symptoms appear. Exposure to rabies is generally the result of a bite or scratch by an infected animal, and it is sometimes practically undetectable, such as a tiny skin puncture. Treatment for rabies exposure involves a series of vaccinations. 

Public health officials recommend taking the following precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to rabies: 

  • DO NOT handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. Contact animal control to collect the animal.
  • Thoroughly wash any wound caused by an animal with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.
  • Keep vaccinations current for all dogs, cats and ferrets. Keep cats and ferrets inside and dogs under direct supervision.
  • Contact your local public health department or animal control if people or pets have been bitten or exposed to a skunk.
  • Attempt to safely contain the skunk and then contact your local animal control officer to assist with capturing the animal and delivering it for testing.

Other types of wild animals that may carry rabies include bats, raccoons, and foxes. 

Residents who find a skunk that may have been in contact with a person or a domestic animal should call their local animal control office.

For questions about human contact with a skunk, call the Colorado Health Information Line at 877-462-2911. 

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