A skunk that was discovered in a residential yard in The Woods subdivision in Kerr County has been confirmed positive for rabies, becoming Kerr County’s fifth case of rabies in 2021.
The incident was reported on Aug. 26 to Kerr County Animal Services, according to Reagan Givens, director. The animal was dispatched in a yard in that housing area off Bandera Highway. It is thought to have come into contact with the homeowner’s dogs, he said.
“The skunk was picked up by one of our officers on Aug. 26 and sent to the lab for testing on Aug. 30,” Givens said. “We received the results this morning telling us that the skunk was positive for rabies.”
Per protocol, the homeowner was notified of regulations pertaining to his pets that had been exposed.
According to Texas law, if a pet cat or dog is bitten or has had contact with an animal known to be rabid, then the pet should be humanely euthanized. Owners unwilling to end their pets’ lives (which is most often the case), should then follow the protocol also laid out by law as follows:
• If the dog or cat exposed to rabies is currently vaccinated against rabies, then they should be revaccinated immediately and restrained/confined for a period of 45 days.
• If the exposed pet has not been vaccinated, then it should receive a shot immediately and placed in strict isolation for 90 days, with booster rabies vaccinations in the third and eighth weeks of isolation.
“This case pretty much reminds everyone how important it is to keep our dogs and cats vaccinated against this terrible disease, which can also be transferred to humans,” Givens said. “You never know when a rabid, wild animal may enter your yard close to your home. Because of that, we just never know when we or our pets might be exposed. It is vital that we all be as vigilant as possible and takes steps to protect our families, including our four-legged members.”
“Keep up on your pets’ vaccinations, never attempt to feed or touch wildlife (even cats or dogs that appear to be strays) and do not put out feed for wild animals near your home.”
Anyone who sees an animal acting abnormally is asked to make note of their description, their behavior and their location (or which direction they are heading if mobile) and call the Kerr County Animal Services at (830) 257-3100. If it is after business hours, then contact the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office at (830) 896-1216.
“Rabies is a potentially fatal viral and neurological disease that can spread to humans from family pets who have been bitten or otherwise infected by another rabid animal,” Givens said. “The disease can even be transmitted to cows, horses, goats and ferrets, who, in turn, can infect their human owners.”
So far this year, Kerr County has had four other previous, confirmed positive cases of rabies. This fifth case pushes this year past 2020, when there were four cases recorded in the entire year.