Rabid Fox in Eads, Fifth Rabies Case Confirmed S.E. Case for 2012


SE Colorado Residents Cautioned About Wildlife with Rabies

Prowers County Public Health and Environment (PCPHE) is urging all citizens of SE Colorado to avoid any unnecessary contact with wild animals, especially any that appear to be sick or behaving in an unusual manner. Since the first of the year there have been five incidents involving animals that have tested positive with rabies in Southeast Colorado.  Four of these incidents involved unvaccinated pets (with the most recent, noted below, still under investigation).  Unfortunately, 3 of the 4 incidents required that a pet be euthanized.  This further stresses the importance of keeping all pets current with their rabies vaccinations including any required booster shots.

The most recent case is a fox that was found on the northern end of Eads.  This fox was submitted for testing and was confirmed as positive today (5/31/12).  All residents of Eads are strongly encouraged to confirm the vaccination status of their pets and to discuss with their family members if they may have seen or come into contact with a fox in the last week or if they may have seen or believe that there may have been contact between their pets and a fox.

In additional PCPHE wishes to remind all Health Care Providers that they must report any human cases of animal bites to their local Health Department immediately.  It is also of great importance that all persons having knowledge of interactions with skunks by pets and/or livestock to report these to their local Health Department.

Since June 2007, when a rabid coyote attacked a Prowers County resident at their home in eastern Prowers County, the incident of rabies in skunks and other wildlife has been on the increase in eastern Colorado, including Prowers County. Jackie Brown, Director of Prowers County Public Health and Environment stated “there is concern that skunk rabies circulating in the area does increase the potential for spill over infections into other wildlife, domestic pets and livestock. It is important to be aware that there is rabid wildlife in the area and to know what to look for and what to do if you encounter a possibly rabid animal.”  

Signs that wildlife may have rabies:

  • Wild animals which seem to be friendly, tame or show no fear of people
  • Nocturnal animals – coyotes, foxes, bats, skunks, and raccoons – that are active during the day
  • Animals that appear to be “drunk” – staggering movements while walking
  • Skunks attacking other animals – cows, goats, dogs, etc. Signs that cats and dogs may have rabies:
  • Changes in normal behavior – a shy dog becoming aggressive or a friendly dog becoming withdrawn
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or drinking
  • Animals that appear to be “drunk” – staggering movements while walking
  • Paralysis
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Excess salivation and choking sounds like something is stuck in their throat


Signs that livestock my have rabies:

  • Excessive drooling and abnormal swallowing
  • Constant or abnormal vocalization and/or appear to be choking
  • Abnormal posture and wobbliness in the hindquarters, difficulty standing or walking
  • Unexplained aggressiveness


What to do if you encounter a potentially rabid animal:

  • Do not approach or attempt to handle a live animal
  • Keep children, pets, and livestock away
  • If a person or animal is bitten contact local animal control or the county public health office immediately
  • In order for an animal to be tested for rabies the brain must be intact (i.e. don’t shoot animals in their head). Do not handle the carcass without waterproof gloves. Use a shovel to place the carcass in a plastic bag.
  • If you encounter a potentially rabid animal call 911.


It is extremely important that ALL pet owners have their pets vaccinated against rabies and keep them current to protect both the pets and the families that they live with.  Prowers County Public Health and Environment issued a “Mandatory Rabies Vaccination Order” June 21, 2007 requiring all unvaccinated cats and dogs in Prowers County to be vaccinated for rabies immediately by a licensed veterinarian.  That order has been continued and will be in effect until further notice.  The city of Lamar also requires that all cats and dogs are current with rabies vaccinations.

To report emergencies or sick or abnormally behaving animals, citizens should call the appropriate Emergency Dispatch office in their county by dialing 911. General questions about animal or wildlife behavior may be directed to the Lamar office of the Colorado Division of Wildlife at 336-6600. Questions about rabies and its related impacts on human health should be directed to Prowers County Public Health and Environment at 336-8721. For more information go to:

Filed Under: communityCountyHealthLamarPublic SafetyThe Journal Alert


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