Public Health Emerging Issues – May 16, 2018

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT RABIES IN MESA COUNTY

  • Spring and summer mean active animals – both domestic and wild. Make sure you’re taking the right steps to prevent rabies and other diseases spread by animals.
  • Rabies is common in bats, skunks, raccoons, coyotes and foxes. The disease can also be found in unvaccinated household pets.
  • What you can do to protect your pets.
    • Pets must be licensed with Mesa County Animal Services (MCAS). Your pet has to be up-to-date on rabies vaccination to be licensed.
      • Rabies vaccine can be administered by a licensed veterinarian annually or every three years.
    • Unvaccinated pets that are exposed to rabies could need to be quarantined, which can be expensive, or sadly euthanized.
    • Leash your pets while on walks or hikes and keep them away from wild animals – dead or alive.
    • Keep your pets inside at night.
    • Contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your pet has been exposed to rabies.
  • What you can do to protect your home.
    • Animal-proof your trashcans – lock lids and don’t leave trash outside of the can, which will attract animals to your yard.
    • Make sure windows are screened and cover small openings like chimneys or furnace ducts.
  • What you can do to protect your family.
    • Leave wildlife wild!
    • Do not feed wild animals.
    • Do not try to rescue an injured or sick animal.
      • When you interact with an animal, you’re likely endangering their life. Animals that are “rescued” by humans often can’t go back home and end up dying due to unnecessary contact with humans.
      • CPW’s Living with Wildlife page has some useful tips for interacting with wildlife.
    • Do not keep wild animals as pets.
    • Even helpless otherwise healthy-looking animals can carry diseases.
    • Call Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) at (970)255-6100 if you’re worried about a wild animal’s health and/or life.
  • What to do if you find a bat in your home.
    • Contact MCAS at (970) 242-4646.
    • Do not remove the bat from your home – dead or alive. Testing for rabies will keep you from spending on expensive post-exposure rabies treatment.
  • What to do if you find a large animal die-off on your property.
    • Contact CPW at (970) 255-6100.
    • Do not dispose of or touch the animals.
    • Keep your pets and children away from the carcasses.
  • Mesa County Public Health works with MCAS and CPW to test animals for rabies and to educate residents about rabies risk in our community.

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