Sheep tests positive for rabies in Elbert, Black Forest area

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EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — A homeowner in the Elbert, Black Forest area contacted the county health department on August 4. They reported their sheep had been attacked by a pack of aggressive coyotes and one of the victimized animals had begun experiencing symptoms of rabies.

On Friday, public health reported the injured sheep did test positive for the rabies virus.

The department is now asking people who live in the Elbert, Black Forest area to be vigilant of all wild animals, especially:

  • Coyotes
  • Bats
  • Raccoons
  • Skunks
  • Foxes

Anyone who is bitten or scratched by a wild animal should contact their doctor and the health department immediately.

According to the health department, a preventative vaccination is available for anyone who is known or suspected to have been in contact with a rabid animal.

Take these precautions to prevent rabies:

  • Vaccinate your pets against rabies by using a licensed veterinarian. Rabies shots must be boosted, so check your pet’s records or talk to your veterinarian.
  • When walking or hiking with your dog, protect them and wildlife by keeping your dog on a leash.
  • Keep cats and other pets inside at night to reduce the risk of exposure to other domestic animals and wildlife. Keep dogs within your sight (in a fenced yard, or on leash) during the day while outside.
  • Make sure outdoor fencing is secure from wandering wildlife
  • Contact your veterinarian promptly if you believe your pet has been exposed to a wild animal.
  • Do not touch or feed wild animals. Wild animals such as skunks and foxes adapt to residential environments if food is available – please do not leave pet food outdoors.
  • If people or pets are bitten or scratched by a wild or unknown animal, call your doctor and report to El Paso County Public Health’s bite report portal.

How to recognize sick wildlife:

  • Healthy wild animals are normally afraid of humans.
  • Sick animals often do not run away when spotted by people.
  • Wildlife suffering from rabies will often act aggressively and violently approach people or pets.
  • However, sometimes rabid animals are overly quiet and passive and want to hide. If they are hiding, leave them alone. Rabid wildlife might also stumble or have trouble walking.

For more information about Rabies in Humans and Animals click here.

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