Rabies found in Waldoboro skunk

Tue, 02/02/2016 - 6:30pm

    A skunk that a dog in Waldoboro killed has tested positive for rabies.

    On Friday, Jan. 29, Lincoln County Animal Control Officer Will Snowman responded to a report of a possible rabid skunk killed by a dog at a home on Rocky Ridge.

    The dog’s owner explained that a skunk had attacked her rottweiler inside her enclosure.  The rottweiler had apparently killed the skunk without being bitten.  Snowman bagged the skunk and contacted the Maine Warden’s Service.

    The skunk was transported to the Maine CDC in Augusta for testing.  The dog was placed in quarantine at the family’s home. 

    The skunk tested positive for rabies. The family’s veterinarian will have to determine the fate of the dog as it was not currently vaccinated.

    The following information concerning rabies is from the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website:

    Rabies is caused by a virus. It affects the brain and spinal cord and can cause death if left untreated.  Rabies in people is very rare in the United States, but rabies in animals - especially wildlife - is common in most parts of the country including Maine.

    The rabies virus lives in the saliva, brain and spinal cord of infected animals. It is spread when a rabid animal bites or scratches a person or animal, or if a rabid animal’s saliva or neural tissue comes in contact with a person or animal’s mouth, nose or eyes, or enters a cut in the skin.  Rabies is not spread by petting or touching dried saliva, blood, urine, or feces of a rabid animal.

    In Maine, the most commonly infected animals are skunks, raccoon, bats and foxes. Rabies can infect any animal that has hair, but is very rare among small rodents like squirrels, rats, mice and chipmunks. Bat exposures are often difficult to detect, especially in the cases of a sleeping person awakening to a bat in the room or an adult witnessing a bat in a room with a previously unattended child, mentally disabled person or intoxicated person.

    To avoid exposure to rabies, generally, you can avoid contact with wild animals. Also, make sure your dog or cat is up-to-date on rabies vaccination.