2 Rabid Skunks Found in Pulaski County; Veterinary Clinic Takes Action

- LITTLE ROCK, AR- Two cases of rabies have been identified this week in Pulaski County, and health officials say this is the first time they've seen rabid skunks in the Ferndale part of the county in at least 30 years.

The Arkansas Health Department said both rabid skunks were found in the Ferndale area. Some residents reported the skunks in their yards trying to go after their pets.

Now, Lucy Cross with the Doubletree Veterinary Clinic in Ferndale is going door to door to make sure pets are current on their rabies vaccine.

"Just kind of shocked that we have it this close to our clinic," says Lucy Cross, Doubletree Veterinary Clinic. "Rabies is on the rise in Arkansas. We just want everybody to be aware there have been two cases seen. It's one of those diseases if they get it, it's pretty lethal."

The Arkansas Health Department says rabies is nearly 100 percent fatal. Rabies is a virus tat effects the brain and nervous system.

"A normal thinking skunk does not approach a dog, does not come up right to the house, they're usually a little more reticent than that," says Susan Weinstein, State Public Health Veterinarian.

In this case, two Ferndale residents found it odd and made a call. So far this year, the state has had 15 rabid animals, compared to last year in which 152 animals tested positive for rabies, which is triple the yearly average.

"We had a huge increase in rabies last year and in 2013 it was the first time we had rabies on the ground."

Even if you have livestock, veterinarians suggest getting them vaccinated too.

"They come back with a dead skunk and that skunk is positive for rabies, it's really frightening." Cross

Arkansas State Law requires all dogs and cats be vaccinated against rabies by four months of age. If you see anything unusual with a wild animal, report it to your local health department or veterinarian.

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