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Family’s dogs found playing with bat; bat tests positive for rabies

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    BOULDER, CO (KDVR/KWGN) — Boulder County Health officials say two family dogs were found playing with a bat outside their home in Boulder. The bat was confirmed to be positive for rabies.

Health officials said each dog has received a rabies booster shot and will need to be watched for 45 days for signs of illness. Rabies is always fatal unless it is treated before any symptoms appear. This is the seventh animal (six bats, one dog) to test positive for rabies in Boulder County this season.

The pet owners knew not to touch the bat and called animal control to collect the bat for rabies testing. Fortunately, both dogs had previously been vaccinated against the disease, so the dogs did not have to be quarantined, according to a release on Monday.

“When COVID-19 required most of us to stay home, many people got new pets to spend time with,” said Carol McInnes, Boulder County Public Health environmental health specialist. “This is an important reminder to all pet owners to be sure that their dogs, cats, and ferrets are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations. If they’re not, they should call their veterinary clinic to schedule the rabies shot as soon as possible.”

“The best thing you can do is to make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date and keep them from interacting with wild animals,” said McInnes. “Unfortunately, when a pet is not vaccinated and has had contact with an animal infected with rabies, they must be quarantined, or even worse, euthanized.”

Public health officials recommend that the following precautions be taken to reduce the risk of exposure to rabies:

DO NOT handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. Contact animal control to collect the animal.
Thoroughly wash any wound caused by an animal with soap and water, and seek medical attention immediately.
Keep vaccinations current for all dogs, cats, and ferrets. Keep cats and ferrets inside and keep outdoor dogs under direct supervision.
Contact your local public health department or animal control if people or pets have been bitten or exposed to a bat.
Contact your local animal control officer to collect the bat for rabies testing.
So far in 2020, 69 animals from Colorado have tested positive for rabies. These animals are known or strongly suspected of exposing 86 domestic pets, 37 livestock animals, and 76 people to rabies, according to Boulder County Public Health.

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