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Dog exposed to rabid skunk current on its shots

By Steve Huffman
shuffman@salisburypost.com
Patty Wise was about to back out of her driveway Tuesday when she noticed a small black animal inside her dog’s lot.
“I figured it was a stray cat,” she said.
But when Wise got out of her car to take a look, she discovered that a skunk had squeezed through the chain-link fence and was in the pen with her retriever-mix female, Chloe.
Wise opened the gate to let the dog out and the skunk followed.
“My little dog thought it was something to play with,” Wise said.
She and a neighbor separated the animals and Wise retreated to her house for a rifle. The neighbor shot and killed the skunk, which was later determined to have rabies.
Fortunately, Chloe, a 16-month-old dog, was up to date on her rabies shots and Wise needed only to have its vaccination re-boostered.
Wise, who lives on Sportsman Drive in the eastern part of Rowan County, had put on rubber gloves by the time she grabbed Chloe’s collar. She said she doesn’t think the skunk ever got near the dog’s neck.
So Wise doesn’t think it’s necessary for her to undergo rabies shots.
“I think I’m fine,” she said.
Wise said she’s equally relieved that the skunk never sprayed while the scenario played out.
Eric Williams, the Rowan County Animal Control officer who investigated the case, said when he heard the skunk entered the dog’s fence, he figured the creature was sick.
Typically, wild animals would be far too afraid of domesticated animals and their owners to enter a lot enclosed in chain-link fencing, he said.”When she told me the skunk got in there with the dog, I kind of assumed it’d come back positive (in its test for rabies),” Williams said.
This is the ninth case of rabies reported in Rowan County this year. Williams said it’s a wonderful thing that Wise’s dog was up to date on its vaccinations.
Had the dog not been up to date on those vaccinations, Wise would have had to either have the animal euthanized or quarantined at a veterinarian’s office for six months.
“And that would cost a fortune,” Williams said.
He said he’s always surprised when individuals don’t keep their pets up to date on their rabies shots.
“It’s a very inexpensive, simple thing to do,” Williams said.
It’s even cheaper at a number of Rowan County veterinarian’s offices today. A number of vets are participating in a rabies clinic today where they’re vaccinating pets at a nominal fee ó typically $5.
“It’s the least you can do for your pet,” Williams said.

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