Rabies found in Raton racoon

Posted at: 03/13/2013 3:01 PM
By: KOB.com staff

The New Mexico Department of Health says it  confirmed rabies in a raccoon that was behaving erratically in downtown Raton on March 11th.

According to a news release, the raccoon was captured and euthanized by an officer with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and taken to a local veterinarian.

Tissue samples submitted by the veterinarian to the Department of Health’s Scientific Laboratory Division tested positive for rabies. No persons, pets, or livestock are known to have been bitten by the rabid raccoon. Any person bitten by the rabid raccoon should contact local animal control and see their health care provider as soon as possible.

Anyone with knowledge of an animal being bitten by this rabid raccoon should report it to local animal control and have the animal examined by a veterinarian.

“This case of rabies in a raccoon emphasizes the importance of keeping your pets’ rabies vaccinations up-to-date to protect your children, family, and community,” said Dr. Paul Ettestad, Public Health Veterinarian for the Department of Health.

“Unvaccinated pets or pets not up-to-date on their rabies vaccination can be exposed to a rabid wild animal and put your family members at unnecessary risk and exposure to a very dangerous and fatal disease.”

The last case of confirmed animal rabies in Colfax County was in a skunk in 2011.

According to the department, the following guidelines can help protect you and your family from rabies:

• Keep pets on a leash at all times. Pets should be up-to-date on rabies vaccinations and wearing current license tags on their collar. If your cat or dog has been bitten or scratched, call your pet’s veterinarian, even if the wound is superficial.

• Horses and other valuable livestock should be considered for rabies vaccination also to protect them from wild rabid animals that may attack them.

• Stay away from wild or unfamiliar animals. Do not attempt to feed, approach, or touch wild animals (alive or dead). Teach this important message to your children and keep a close eye on your kids at all times.

• If you see a sick or dead wild animal, or a wild animal acting abnormally in this area, report it to your local animal control authorities. Rabid animals may show no fear of people and may even seem friendly or become aggressive.

• Don’t leave pet food, water, or filled garbage cans out overnight as this could attract wild animals to your home. If you are bitten or scratched by a wild animal or a pet, the Department of Health recommends the following guidelines: • Wash all wounds and contact areas thoroughly with soap and water.

• Contact your physician immediately for evaluation. The Department of Health is available to physicians for consultation about rabies at (505) 827-0006.

• Call the local animal control department to report the incident; provide them with an accurate description of the animal.

• Try to keep the animal confined, but don’t risk further injury if the animal is dangerous.

• Keep children away from all animals involved in the incident.

For more information about rabies visit the Department of Health’s website at http://nmhealth.org/ERD/HealthData/rabies.shtml.