(Placerville, CA) - El Dorado County Animal Services is reminding residents to keep pets current on rabies vaccines and immediately notify Animal Services of any animal bite to a human or pet. "All 58 counties in California are rabies endemic areas, which means that the rabies virus is always present in the community," said Henry Brzezinski, Animal Services Chief. "Rabies can be fatal. El Dorado County Animal Services strongly urges pet owners to vaccinate all dogs, as required by state law, as well as cats against rabies and to keep their pets under a watchful eye."
In the past two months, El Dorado County Animal Services identified five skunks and one bat that tested positive for rabies. The most recent skunk was found in mid-May 2022 in the 9700 block of Biking Road in Greenwood. In April 2022, three rabid skunks were found – one in the 2500 block of Wakefield Place in Garden Valley, one in the 5200 block of Manhattan Creek in Garden Valley, and one in the 3200 block of Fort Jim Road in Placerville. A rabid bat was found in April 2022 in the 6500 block of Carriage Lane in Somerset. At the end of March 2022, one rabid skunk was found in the 4000 block of Cedar Drive in Georgetown.
Animal Services has reports of rabid animals each year. In 2021, Animal Services identified a total of 11 animals (3 bats, 8 skunks) that tested positive for rabies in El Dorado County. Historically, most rabid animals in El Dorado County are identified on the County's West Slope, with smaller numbers reported in the South Lake Tahoe area, according to Brzezinski.
According to Mary Hill, Animal Services Health Program Specialist, pet owners should ensure that both dogs and cats are vaccinated. "Keeping cats up-to-date on their rabies vaccine is important due to the fact that many people keep their cats outdoors, and cats are especially interested in wildlife," said Hill. "Also, puppies may now be vaccinated as early as three months of age; the law changed several years ago regarding the age when puppies can be vaccinated against rabies. In addition, and importantly, Animal Services advises that if you or your pet has contact with a suspected rabid animal that you report it immediately so that rabies testing can be performed."
Rabies is a virus spread through the bite and saliva of an infected animal. It is usually fatal to pets and humans if not treated shortly after exposure. While any animal can become infected with the rabies virus, bats, skunks and fox are the animals most commonly found to carry the virus. Comprehensive vaccination programs in the United States have meant that rabies among domestic pets is now uncommon.
To prevent the spread of rabies:
For more information about rabies or Animal Services, visit www.edcgov.us/animalservices. To reach Animal Services by phone, call (530) 621-5795 in Diamond Springs or at (530) 573-7925 in South Lake Tahoe.
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