For Immediate Release
February 12, 2010

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Rabid Dog Serves as Reminder of the Importance of Pet Vaccination

A dog in Barton County has tested positive for rabies following a fight with a skunk three weeks ago.  The dog had not been vaccinated against rabies.  Eight people who came in contact with the dog are receiving rabies vaccinations as a precaution.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) wants to remind everyone who owns pets and livestock to make sure their animals are vaccinated against rabies by a veterinarian.  Vaccines are available for dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, cattle and sheep.  Vaccinated animals need to have periodic boosters of vaccine to maintain proper protection.  Some cities and counties have ordinances that require proof of rabies vaccination for pets.

The risk for human exposure to rabies is real, but preventable. Animal rabies is common in Kansas and skunks are the animals most likely to have the disease. However, skunks can pass the virus to other animals.  Prevention of human rabies depends on vaccinating domestic animals, eliminating human exposures to stray and wild animals, and providing exposed persons with prompt post-exposure rabies treatment.

During 2009, the Kansas State Rabies Laboratory reported 78 cases of animal rabies in Kansas.  The rabid animals included 58 skunks, five bats, four dogs, three cats, three cows, and one of each of the following: raccoon, bobcat, horse, fox and coyote.

“We often forget the importance of vaccinating our pets,” said Dr. Ingrid Garrison, state public health veterinarian. “Vaccinating animals against rabies not only protects our pets, but our families as well.” 

KDHE offer these tips to prevent rabies:

For more information about rabies, contact your veterinarian, local health department or the Kansas Department of Health and Environment at 1-877-427-7317.