Department:
Health and Human Services Agency

Date:
1/22/2021
Contact:
El Dorado County Animal Services

Phone:
(530) 621-579

PUBLIC HEALTH REMINDER: KEEPING PETS CURRENT ON RABIES VACCINE IS IMPORTANT

(Placerville, CA) - El Dorado County Animal Services is reminding residents to keep pets current on rabies vaccines and immediately notify Animal Services of any animal bite to a human or pet. "All 58 counties in California are rabies endemic areas, which means that the rabies virus is always present in the community," said Henry Brzezinski, Animal Services Chief. "Rabies can be fatal. El Dorado County Animal Services strongly urges pet owners to vaccinate all dogs, as required by state law, as well as cats against rabies and to keep their pets under a watchful eye."

In the past two weeks, El Dorado County Animal Services identified three skunks that tested positive for rabies. One skunk was found in the 400 block of Main Street in Placerville, one in the 4500 block of Blanchard Road in Placerville and one in the 4400 block of Forni Road in El Dorado. Last year, Animal Services also identified three skunks positive for rabies close to these areas. Two were found in the 4500 block of Blanchard Road in Placerville and one in the 3100 block of Spanish Ravine Road in Placerville. 

In 2020, Animal Services identified a total of 11 animals (3 bats, 7 skunks, and 1 fox) that tested positive for rabies in El Dorado County. One of these cases, a positive bat, was found in South Lake Tahoe; the remaining cases were found on the West Slope of the county.

According to Mary Hill, Animal Services Health Program Specialist, pet owners should ensure that both dogs and cats are vaccinated. "Keeping cats up-to-date on their rabies vaccine is important due to the fact that many people keep their cats outdoors, and cats are especially interested in wildlife," said Hill. "Also, as a reminder, puppies may now be vaccinated as early as three months of age; the law changed several years ago regarding the age when puppies can be vaccinated against rabies."

Rabies is a virus spread through the bite and saliva of an infected animal. It is usually fatal to pets and humans if not treated shortly after exposure. While any animal can become infected with the rabies virus, bats, skunks and fox are the animals most commonly found to carry the virus. Comprehensive vaccination programs in the United States have meant that rabies among domestic pets is now uncommon. 

To prevent the spread of rabies:

  • Maintain current rabies vaccinations for dogs, cats and livestock.
  • Keep property free of garbage, stored bird seed and leftover pet food to avoid attracting wild animals.
  • Keep pet doors closed at night to prevent entry of wild animals into the home.
  • Never approach, pick up, feed or interact with unfamiliar dogs, cats or wild animals.
  • Don't approach an animal that appears sick or aggressive. Report it to Animal Services.
  • Don't touch a dead animal with bare hands.
  • Call Animal Services if a domestic or wild animal shows sign of rabies (such as staggering, confusion, lack of fear or aggressive behavior).
  • Notify Animal Services immediately if a person or pet is bitten or exposed to a suspected rabid animal.
  • Immediately notify Animal Services if you find a bat alive or dead in your bedroom.

For more information about rabies or Animal Services, visit www.edcgov.us/animalservices. To reach Animal Services by phone, call (530) 621-5795 in Diamond Springs or at (530) 573-7925 in South Lake Tahoe.

# # #