Skunk tests positive for rabies

By Leslie Radford: Quay County Sun

A rabid skunk was found in San Jon earlier this week. Dr. Jean Corey with the Tucumcari Animal Hospital said there had been a skunk acting abnormally found a few blocks from a school in San Jon.
“I was told he was going in circles and running into things,” said Corey.
The San Jon police department was notified around 7 a.m. Tuesday morning by a resident who spotted the skunk in the street acting strangely. Ben Gates, chief of police, was called to the scene where he then shot the skunk. Gates said it is not unusual for a skunk to wander inside the city limits.
“Skunks are going to go where they want to go,” he said.
There have been prior attempts to keep skunks out of the town by calling in a government trapper. Gates said the community can help keep these potentially dangerous animals out by cleaning up around their homes eliminating places for the skunks to reside.
Gates said it would be a good idea to not leave food out for pets overnight.
“That’s an easy meal for a skunk,” Gates said.
“Rabies is transmitted through the bite of an animal,” according to Corey, “not by the touch.” However, if one happens to get a rabid animal’s saliva in a break of their skin, the disease can be transmitted that way as well.
“New Mexico has a rift with rabies in skunks and bats,” according to Dr. Paul Ettestad, state public health veterinarian with the Department of Health in Santa Fe, “especially in counties along the Texas Panhandle border and counties along the Mexican border.”
When an animal is rabid, it “potentially becomes aggressive and can bite someone’s dog or cat, or even a human. It’s a 100 percent fatal disease,” said Ettestad, who ran tests on the skunk found in San Jon to check for rabies.
“We just want to get the message out to people to get their animals vaccinated,” he said.
Corey encourages everyone with pets to get them vaccinated as soon as possible. She said San Jon plans to have an extra rabies clinic this year but the date has not been set.