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By Jennifer Harbin / The Hesperian-Beacon—
FLOYDADA—This past weekend, a resident found a skunk behaving strangely in his backyard and terminated it. After being sent off for further testing, the samples came back positive for rabies.
The Floydada resident, who resides in the 900 block of West Tennessee St., brought the deceased animal to animal control on Monday, and veterinarian Dr. James Glasson retrieved the skunk for further testing. Lab results returned Friday concluded the skunk was positive for rabies.
Floydada Animal Control Officer Manuel Barrientos suggested that pet owners be extra cautious when letting animals out and to keep them under close supervision.
Barrientos emphasized animals should not be allowed to roam freely. Humans should also not approach animals they don’t know, even if they seem to be healthy, to reduce risk of being bit and infected.
“We want to assure folks that Floydada Animal Control has been instructed to put out animal traps and [they] will be on call throughout the weekend to monitor the situation,” City Manager Darrell Gooch stated in a public service announcement.
Usually rabies is transmitted animal to animal through a bite, and in rare instances, when the infected animal’s saliva comes in contact with an open wound or scratch, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC website states: “Rabies virus causes an acute encephalitis in all warm-blooded hosts and the outcome is almost always fatal. The first symptoms of rabies may be nonspecific and include lethargy, fever, vomiting, and anorexia. Signs progress within days to cerebral dysfunction, cranial nerve dysfunction, ataxia, weakness, paralysis, seizures, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation, abnormal behavior, aggression and/or self-mutilation.”
To protect pets, make sure all their vaccinations are up to date.
Officer Barrientos stressed if anyone sees any animal acting oddly to contact the City Office at 983-2834, and animal control will come assess the situation.