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Two rabies cases confirmed in county

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Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2019 12:00 pm

Bandera County pet owners are being encouraged to see that their pets have current rabies vaccinations now that two wild animals have tested positive for rabies in the last month-and-a-half and a third rabies case is under investigation.

The two positive rabies cases involved a racoon that was reported to the Bandera County Sheriff’s Department and animal control officials on April 22 because it was out during daylight hours in the area of the Flying L Ranch Resort and was acting strangely, officials said.

Tests showed on April 25 that it had contracted the deadly, viral disease, said a secretary for Dr. Conrad Nightingale, a county rabies control officer.

On May 23, a resident brought a fox to the county animal control shelter after the animal was killed when it reportedly attacked a kitten on Lakeshore Drive in the Wharton’s Dock area and did flee when someone yelled at it to scare it off. 

The county’s animal control liaison officer advised the resident to take the fox to the Bandera Veterinary Clinic for testing, and the next day, tests confirmed that the fox had contracted rabies, officials said.

Bandera County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Matt King said another possible case occurred on Saturday, June 1, when a property owner on Diana Drive near FM 3240 shot a racoon that was acting strangely and appeared to be sick. 

King said the racoon was referred to a veterinarian for testing but as of Monday, June 3, no results had been returned on the animal.

The chief deputy said residents should know that rabies is a persistent threat to animals in the wild.  Residents should stay away from any wild animals that are acting strangely, including animals seen during daylight hours that normally come out at night.

King urged residents to call the sheriff’s department any time they see an animal acting in an unusual fashion so deputies can examine the matter to determine what steps should be taken.

“It’s always better to be safe than sorry,” said King.

The sheriff’s department can be reached at 830-796-4323.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said rabies “is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal.”

 Sandra Schott, the county’s animal control liaison officer, said she and veterinarians in the county have made an extra effort in recent weeks to get the word out to pet owners to get their animals immunized against rabies and other diseases.

Once they get shots for their animals they need to make sure the vaccinations are kept current each year, said Schott.  

She said even a 3-month-old puppy or kitten are old enough to be vaccinated against rabies.

Dr. Jennifer Knight, a veterinarian at the Bandera Veterinary Clinic, said vaccinating pets against rabies is an important public health measure because those vaccinations keep humans from being exposed to the disease as well.

She said her clinic has seen more people come in to get their pets vaccinated since the rabies cases surfaced a little more than a month ago, especially the owners of pets that stay outdoors. 

But Knight encouraged owners of pets that are kept indoors to make sure they are kept protected from the disease as well.

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