Recently a pet dog belonging to an Imboden family was confirmed with rabies. The dog became ill around January 25th , was euthanized and submitted for rabies testing. Those exposed to the dog are to undergo a series of rabies vaccinations to prevent the possible development of the disease. The dog was most likely bitten by a rabid skunk as the dog had been sprayed recently. The dog had never recieved any rabies vaccinations.

People can take steps to help prevent and control rabies.

Keep Away From Wildlife and Unfamiliar Animals
More than 90% of all animal rabies cases reported to the CDC each year occur in wild animals. The main animals that get rabies include raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats.

One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family is to avoid contact with wild animals. Do not feed or handle them, even if they seem friendly.

Unfamiliar animals that are often thought of as pets, such as dogs and cats, should also be avoided. These animals are often in contact with wildlife and can also transmit rabies to humans.

If you see an animal acting strangely report it. Some things to look for are:

•General sickness
•Problems swallowing
•Lots of drool or saliva
•An animal that appears more tame than you would expect
•An animal that bites at everything
•An animal that’s having trouble moving or may even be paralyzed
Sometimes, people may come across a dead animal. Never pick up or touch dead animals. Animals who have died can still give people rabies, especially if they have only been dead for a short time.

Take Pets to a Veterinarian for Their Rabies Shot
Make sure to take your pets, such as dogs and cats, to the veterinarian each year. A veterinarian can make sure your pets are up to date on their rabies shot, which can protect them from getting rabies. This in important, since animals that have not received a rabies shot and are exposed to rabies must be quarantined for six months, or put down.

Talk to your veterinarian about spaying or neutering your pet. This helps cut down on the number of unwanted and stray animals. These animals often do not have their rabies shot and are in close contact with wild animals.

Stay Rabies Free In and Around Your Home
No matter where you live, rabies can threaten your family’s health. Fortunately, there are things you can do around the home to help reduce the risk of getting rabies.

•Keep your pets indoors. When a dog goes outside, make sure an adult is there to watch it and keep it safe.
•Do not feed or put water for your pets outside and keep garbage securely covered. These items may attract wild animals or stray animals to your yard.
•Teach children never to handle dead wild animals or unfamiliar domestic animals.
While most wild animals are found primarily outdoors, bats can sometimes fly into buildings. This includes your home and even the room where you sleep. If you see a bat in your home, confine the bat to a room by closing all doors and windows leading out of the room except those to the outside. The bat will probably leave soon. If not, approach it slowly, and when it lands and place a box or coffee can over it. Slide a piece of cardboard under the container to trap the bat inside. Tape the cardboard to the container securely. Be sure to contact the local health department so they can test the bat for rabies.

For more information about rabies visit the cdc website.