Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Rabies battle continues, in my backyard and yours.

I have posted about the new strain of rabies virus associated with bats but also capable of causing outbreaks in other species such as foxes and skunks a couple of times. There have not been many cases reported in carnivores this year, probably due to the wildlife vaccine program which they did last year. This program involves oral vaccines distributed for foxes, coyotes and raccoons, and a trap and vaccinate program for skunks (unfortunately the oral bait vaccine is not effective in skunks for some reason). The dedicated personnel of the USDA wildlife services rabies management program get the lovely job of trapping and vaccinating skunks in Northern Arizona again this summer to prevent the spread of rabies virus from bats into terrestrial animals again.
Currently they are vaccinating skunks in my neighborhood. I found a trap about 100yards away from my house today, complete with a small skunk hiding in the brush near the trap waiting for darkness before traveling away from cover again.
This skunk was very calm and sleepy during the middle of the day, waiting for nightfall to resume it's normal foraging.
 The ear tags indicate that this skunk has been vaccinated against Rabies.

This program is an interesting example of how science based veterinary medicine can improve the lives of both humans and  animals. Eliminating terrestrial rabies would reduce the risk of exposure for both wild and domestic animals and humans as well. If you have a program like this going on in your area, be sure to express your appreciation of the sometimes unpleasant and nearly always under appreciated work that these people are doing on your behalf.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Bill. I sure appreciate your take on what's going on with this program as well as its effect on domestic animals.