|Updated: 6/26/2012 10:58 pm
||Published: 6/26/2012 10:46 pm
HOT SPRINGS, AR - At least 4 new cases of rabies were confirmed Tuesday by the Arkansas Department of Health, bringing this year’s total to 86 animals that have tested positive for the disease.
Two of the new cases are in Saline County, one in a skunk and another in a family dog living nearby. Later Tuesday, ADH said a bat in Polk County and a cow in Conway County also tested positive for rabies.
On average, Arkansas sees only 45 cases, and that is for the entire year. Sue Weinstein, the State Public Health Veterinarian, says rabies cases are up this year because of the mild winter.
ADH says if you see a skunk or bat during the daytime to not touch them and call animal control right away.
No cases of rabies have been found in cats or dogs in Garland County, most of their cases have been in skunks and bats. Hot Springs Animal Service sees the increased rate of rabies infections and is warning people to obey the law and get their pets vaccinated.
“This is about having a safe and healthy community,” says Dan Bugg, HSAS director. “It’s all about being proactive.”
So far, HSAS is the only organization in the state to offer free rabies clinics. They have held three clinics so far this year, vaccinating 927 cats and dogs. The next one will be held sometime in July at the Garland County Fairgrounds.
Some signs that your household pet may have contracted rabies include changes in behavior, staggering, convulsions, and choking.