Dr. Darren Lynde, veterinarian and senior partner at the Animal Medical Center of Wyoming, poses with four-legged patient. Editor’s note: The dog pictured does not have the rabies virus. H/T Animal Medical Center.
Vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate!
Gillette veterinarians are urging residents to vaccinate their animals after two skunks tested positive for rabies.
The skunks were caught by the Campbell County Predator Board as part of their routine trapping procedures, according to a March 29 release from Dr. Darren Lynde, veterinarian and senior partner at the Animal Medical Center of Wyoming, and were subsequently euthanized per protocol.
“There was no known human exposure, but it reminds us all that rabies is around and should be taken seriously,” he stated in the release. “Any warm-blooded animal can contract rabies, but in Campbell County, skunks, raccoons, foxes and bats represent most cases.”
Horses, dogs and cats are also at risk, Lynde continued, suggesting that residents vaccinate their pets, ferrets, horses and select livestock if they haven’t already done so or if those animals are not current on their shots.
“Rabies in our county seems to cycle from year to year,” he noted. “This is an early spring warning that we are due for significantly more cases this summer.”
Lynde said that, according to data from the University of Wyoming’s Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory in Laramie, the last known rabies case in Campbell County was in 2010. The fact that there have already been two positive cases this early in spring, he says, is definitely a cause for concern.
Lynde further suggests people keep their distance from wild life and stray animals, even if those animals seem friendly. If bitten, the first thing to do, he said, is to clean out the bite with soap and water before immediately contacting medical professionals.
Rabies is a fatal disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but can be prevented through routine vaccinations.
“Right now, we are all hearing a lot about washing our hands,” he said, referring to precautions used by humans to protect against the coronavirus. “But for the rabies virus, we are fortunate that prevention is as simple as vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate.”