Cameron Veterinary Clinic
Phone: (505) 466-1540

7 Avenida Vista Grande, Suite B-1
Santa Fe, NM 87508

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Rabies in New Mexico

Rabies

Rabies cases do occur in New Mexico. In 2010 we saw rabies in livestock in southern New Mexico as well as in a horse in southern Colorado. Because of this and because the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) has adopted rabies vaccination as one of it's core recommended vaccinations for horses, I recommend that all horses be vaccinated for rabies this spring.

Between November of 2007 and March of 2008, 3 cases of rabies in skunks were found in Taos County. (See press releases below.) This is not in our backyard, but is nearby as wildlife travel, especially if you plan to do any riding and camping in the Pecos Wilderness or northern Sangre de Cristo mountains.

Historically, according to the CDC records, rabies in wildlife species has a seasonal increase in incidence during the spring and summer. I am updated via e-mail by the New Mexico Department of Health if and when new cases occur.

Let me know about travel plans with your horses so that we can discuss how best to protect them not only from rabies but other diseases they may encounter on the road.



May 17, 2013
Department of Health Confirms Rabies in Bat from Albuquerque

Department Urges Parents to Tell Children not to Handle Wild Animals and Make Sure Pets are Vaccinated

(Santa Fe) – The New Mexico Department of Health announced today that a bat from Northeast Albuquerque has tested positive for rabies at the Scientific Laboratory Division. The bat was reportedly captured on May 11th in the vicinity of the 1600 block of Betts NE. It was also reported that a number of children were near the bat, taking pictures of it, at approximately 9:00 p.m. It is not clear if they actually touched or handled it. To date, no known exposures have occurred though a letter went out to parents of schoolchildren from the 2 nearby schools and flyers have been posted in the neighborhood.

“We want to make sure that there are no children who may have handled this bat and been inadvertently exposed to rabies, a nearly 100 percent fatal disease,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “Please ask your children if they handled this bat. If they did, please seek medical care and contact the New Mexico Department of Health immediately.”

Children should be reminded that they should never touch a bat and that they should always report any bat exposures to their parents immediately. Rabies is fatal in humans but if you have been exposed to a rabid animal, it can be prevented.

In 2011 a rabid bat bit an adult within Albuquerque city limits. This person received the series of rabies vaccinations in time to prevent them from developing rabies and had no complications.

“In New Mexico, bats, skunks and foxes are reservoirs for rabies, though only a small percentage of them will have rabies at any time. These animals can transmit rabies to people, pets, livestock or other wild animals,” said Dr. Paul Ettestad, public health veterinarian with the department. “We urge everyone to vaccinate their pets and livestock against rabies. The rabies vaccination for pets is one of the most effective public health tools we have to prevent humans from being exposed to rabies.”

The following guidelines can help protect you and your family from rabies:

  • Stay away from wild or unfamiliar animals. Do not attempt to feed, approach, or touch wild animals (alive or dead). Teach this important message to your children and keep a close eye on your kids at all times.


  • If you see a sick or dead wild animal, or a wild animal acting abnormally, report it to your local animal control authorities. Rabid animals may show no fear of people and may even seem friendly or become aggressive.


  • Keep pets on a leash at all times. Pets should be up to date on rabies vaccinations and wearing current license tags on their collar. If your cat or dog has been bitten or scratched, call your pet’s veterinarian, even if the wound is minor.


  • If you are bitten or scratched by a wild animal or a pet, the Department of Health recommends the following guidelines:


    • Wash all wounds and contact areas thoroughly with soap and water.

    • Contact a healthcare provider immediately for evaluation. The Department of Health is available to providers for consultation about rabies 24/7 at (505) 827-0006.

    • Call the local animal control department to report the incident and provide the department with an accurate description of the animal.

    • Try to keep the animal confined, but don’t risk further injury if the animal is dangerous.

    • Keep children away from all animals involved in the incident


For more information about rabies visit the Department of Health’s website at https://nmhealth.org/about/erd/ideb/zdp/rab/.

May 1, 2012

The report from CDC on the rabid fox from near Magdalena, NM (west of Socorro, NM) showed a rabies virus variant found in (gray foxes) Urocyon cinereoargenteus in Arizona. This is very concerning as this rabies variant is spread from fox-to-fox and could result in more rabies cases in the area.

More commonly in New Mexico, we experience bat- variant rabies which can find it's way into land mammals like foxes skunks, other wildlife and domestic livestock, but is much less likely to spread to from those animals to other land mammals. The finding of a fox variant rabies virus in this case means that it is likely there are other infected wildlife and the spread from animal to animal is more likely.

This makes it extremely important that dogs and cats be up-to-date on their rabies vaccination and that livestock also be considered for rabies vaccination. Most rabies exposures in people occur due to pets and livestock that develop rabies after interacting with rabid wildlife. By vaccinating your animals, pets and livestock, for rabies not only protects them but adds an additional layer of protection from rabies exposure for you and your family. Rabies vaccination is available for dogs, cats, horses, cattle, sheep, goats, llamas and alpacas and all of these animals are susceptible to rabies infection.

Please call us at Cameron Veterinary Clinic with any questions, to verify your animals' rabies vaccination status or to schedule an appointment for rabies vaccination for your animals. 



March 28, 2013 
NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Retta Ward, Cabinet Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Socorro County Fox Diagnosed with Rabies
NM Department of Health Urges Public to Vaccinate Their Pets

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Health confirmed rabies in a fox that attacked a young dog at a home. The attack happened about a mile south of Magdalena in Socorro County on Saturday, March 23rd. Tissue samples from the fox submitted to the Department of Health’s Scientific Laboratory Division tested positive for rabies. The young dog that was attacked had no history of rabies vaccination and had to be euthanized. No persons or other pets or livestock are known to have been bitten by the rabid fox.

“It’s tragic this pet had not been vaccinated against rabies and had to be euthanized so that children and other family members would not be put at unnecessary risk and exposure to a very dangerous and fatal disease,” said Dr. Paul Ettestad, Public Health Veterinarian for the Department of Health. “There is the potential for other foxes in the area to be spreading rabies so it becomes very important that all dogs and cats get a rabies vaccination as soon as possible.”

The last confirmed animal rabies cases in Socorro County were a calf and a bat, both in 2009.

The following guidelines can help protect you and your familyfrom rabies:

  • Keep pets on a leash at all times. Pets should be up-to-date on rabies vaccinations and wearing current license tags on their collar. If your cat or dog has been bitten or scratched, call your pet’s veterinarian, even if the wound is superficial.

  • Horses and other valuable livestock should be considered for rabies vaccination also to protect them from wild rabid animals that may attack them.

  • Stay away from wild or unfamiliar animals. Do not attempt to feed, approach, or touch wild animals (alive or dead). Teach this important message to your children and keep a close eye on your kids at all times.

  • If you see a sick or dead wild animal, or a wild animal acting abnormally in this area, report it to your local animal control authorities. Rabid animals may show no fear of people and may even seem friendly or become aggressive.

  • Don’t leave pet food, water, or filled garbage cans out overnight as this could attract wild animals to your home.


If you are bitten or scratched by a wild animal or a pet, the Department of Health recommends the following guidelines:

  • Wash all wounds and contact areas thoroughly with soap and water.

  • Contact your physician immediately for evaluation. The Department of Health is available to physicians for consultation about rabies at
    (505)827-0006.

  • Call the local animal control department to report the incident;provide them with an accurate description of the animal.

  • Try to keep the animal confined, but don’t risk further injury if the animal is dangerous.

  • Keep childrenawayfrom all animals involved in the incident.


Formoreinformation about rabies visit theDepartment of Health’s websiteat https://nmhealth.org/about/erd/ideb/zdp/rab/.




March 13, 2013
NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Retta Ward, Cabinet Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Department of Health Confirms Rabies in a Raccoon from Raton
Department Urges Public to Vaccinate Their Pets

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Health confirmed rabies in a raccoon that was behaving erratically in downtown Raton on Monday, March 11th. The raccoon was captured and euthanized by an officer with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and taken to a local veterinarian. Tissue samples submitted by the veterinarian to the Department of Health’s Scientific Laboratory Division tested positive for rabies. No persons, pets, or livestock are known to have been bitten by the rabid raccoon.

Any person bitten by the rabid raccoon should contact local animal control and see their health care provider as soon as possible. Anyone with knowledge of an animal being bitten by this rabid raccoon should report it to local animal control and have the animal examined by a veterinarian.

“This case of rabies in a raccoon emphasizes the importance of keeping your pets’ rabies vaccinations up-to-date to protect your children, family, and community,” said Dr. Paul Ettestad, Public Health Veterinarian for the Department of Health. “Unvaccinated pets or pets not up-to-date on their rabies vaccination can be exposed to a rabid wild animal and put your family members at unnecessary risk and exposure to a very dangerous and fatal disease.”

The last case of confirmed animal rabies in Colfax County was in a skunk in 2011.

The following guidelines can help protect you and your family from rabies:

  • Keep pets on a leash at all times. Pets should be up-to-date on rabies vaccinations and wearing current license tags on their collar.If your cat or dog has been bitten or scratched, call your pet’s veterinarian, even if the wound is superficial.

  • Horses and other valuable livestock should be considered for rabies vaccination also to protect them from wild rabid animals that may attack them.

  • Stay away from wild or unfamiliar animals. Do not attempt to feed, approach, or touch wild animals (aliveor dead). Teach this important message to your children and keep a close eye on your kids at all times.

  • If you see a sick or dead wild animal, or a wild animal acting abnormally in this area, report it to your local animal control authorities. Rabid animals mayshow no fear of people and may even seem friendly or become aggressive.


  • Don’t leave pet food, water, or filled garbage cans out overnight as this could attract wild animals to your home.


  • If you are bitten or scratched by a wild animal or a pet, the Department of Health recommends the following guidelines:

    • Wash all wounds and contact areas thoroughly with soap and water.

    • Contact your physician immediately for evaluation. The Department of Health is available to physicians for consultation about rabies at (505)827-0006.

    • Call the local animal control department to report the incident;provide them with an accurate description of the animal.

    • Try to keep the animal confined, but don’t risk further injury if the animal is dangerous.

    • Keep children away from all animals involved in the incident.


    For more information about rabies visit the Department of Health’s website



    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
    February 29, 2012

    Thirty-two Carlsbad Dogs Euthanized Due to Rabies Exposures
    Deaths could have been prevented with proper vaccination

    (Santa Fe) – The New Mexico Department of Health is reporting that 32 pet dogs from the Carlsbad area have been euthanized since December 2011 because they were exposed to known rabid animals and were not vaccinated against rabies. With the exception of puppies that were too young to be fully vaccinated, all of these deaths could have been prevented. Rabies vaccination of dogs and cats is mandated by state law.

    In addition to dogs, a number of livestock and at least one cat have also been euthanized due to rabies exposures. Unvaccinated pets put people, especially children, at greater risk of being exposed to this fatal disease. Since January 1, 2012, a total of 12 people from Eddy county have received rabies post exposure prophylaxis.

    “The needless deaths of family pets emphasizes how important it is for them to be vaccinated against rabies,” said Dr. Catherine Torres, Cabinet Secretary for Department of Health. “Not only does vaccination prevent your pet from getting rabies, it also protects your children, family, and community. Unvaccinated pets can be exposed to a rabid wild animal and bring a very dangerous and fatal disease into your home.”

    Eddy County is currently experiencing an animal rabies outbreak. Since December 2011, twenty-two skunks, one dog, and one fox have tested positive for rabies in the Carlsbad area.

    “This is one of the most concentrated outbreaks of rabies that has been seen in New Mexico for decades, “ said Dr. Paul Ettestad, the Department of Health’s public health veterinarian. “Everyone should encourage their family and their neighbors to have their pets vaccinated against rabies to protect their community.”

    The following guidelines can help protect you and your family from rabies:

    • Keep pets on a leash at all times. Pets should be up-to-date on rabies vaccinations and wearing current license tags on their collar.If your cat or dog has been bitten or scratched, call your pet’s veterinarian, even if the wound is superficial.

    • Horses and other valuable livestock should be considered for rabies vaccination also to protect them from wild rabid animals that may attack them.

    • Stay away from wild or unfamiliar animals. Do not attempt to feed, approach, or touch wild animals (aliveor dead). Teach this important message to your children and keep a close eye on your kids at all times.

    • If you see a sick or dead wild animal, or a wild animal acting abnormally in this area, report it to your local animal control authorities. Rabid animals mayshow no fear of people and may even seem friendly or become aggressive.


    • Don’t leave pet food, water, or filled garbage cans out overnight as this could attract wild animals to your home.


    • If you are bitten or scratched by a wild animal or a pet, the Department of Health recommends the following guidelines:

      • Wash all wounds and contact areas thoroughly with soap and water.

      • Contact your physician immediately for evaluation. The Department of Health is available to physicians for consultation about rabies at (505)827-0006.

      • Call the local animal control department to report the incident;provide them with an accurate description of the animal.

      • Try to keep the animal confined, but don’t risk further injury if the animal is dangerous.

      • Keep children away from all animals involved in the incident.


      For more information about rabies visit the Department of Health’s website at https://nmhealth.org/about/erd/ideb/zdp/rab/.



      
      February 29, 2012

      Rabies cases in other parts of the country serve as a reminder to please keep rabies vaccinations current for your pets and livestock. Click on the text below for a link to the news reports.

      From "The Gainsville (FL) Sun":

      A Levy County, Florida family is getting a series of rabies vaccines starting today after the family pet dog tested positive for rabies.

      From "The (TN) Daily News Journal":

      The Tennessee Departments of Health and Agriculture have confirmed that rabies has been diagnosed in two Middle Tennessee horses. Both horses had a type of rabies virus found in skunks in Tennessee, although it is not known how they were infected.

      “The deaths of these animals serve as a somber reminder of the importance of rabies vaccination. Our pets, often including horses, are more likely to come into contact with wild animals than people are. Protecting pets with rabies vaccination can provide a barrier against rabies from wild animals,” said Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner. “Keeping our pets’ rabies vaccinations up to date is an effective and important way to protect both them and our human loved ones.”



      December 11, 2011


      Department of Health Confirms Rabies in 3 Skunks from Carlsbad


      (Santa Fe) – The New Mexico Department of Health is warning pet and livestock owners in Carlsbad and surrounding areas of Eddy County to make sure their dogs, cats, horses and other valuable livestock get vaccinated against rabies after 3 skunks tested positive for rabies in the last week. Five unvaccinated pet dogs that were bitten by the rabid skunks were euthanized to protect family members from potential rabies exposure. No known human exposures to the rabid skunks occurred. There have been 7 rabid skunks and one rabid horse in Eddy County so far in 2011.
      “These pets could have been protected if they had been vaccinated against rabies before their exposure to the rabid skunks,” Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Dr. Catherine Torres said. “For the safety of animals and family members we urge everyone to vaccinate their pets and livestock against rabies to avoid exposure to a very dangerous, fatal disease.”
      Dr. Paul Ettestad, the Department of Health’s public health veterinarian said a skunk positive for rabies means that there are other skunks and potentially other wildlife in the area that also have rabies. “Pet and horse owners need to protect their animals by having them up-to-date on their rabies vaccines. This will also help to protect their children and other family members from rabies if their horse, dog or cat tangles with a rabid animal,” Dr. Ettestad said.
      The following guidelines can help protect you and your family from rabies:

      • Keep pets on a leash at all times. Pets should be up-to-date on rabies vaccinations and wearing current license tags on their collar. If your cat or dog has been bitten or scratched, call your pet’s veterinarian, even if the wound is superficial.

      • Horses and other valuable livestock should be considered for rabies vaccination also to protect them from wild rabid animals that may attack them.

      • Stay away from wild or unfamiliar animals. Do not attempt to feed, approach, or touch wild animals (alive or dead). Teach this important message to your children and keep a close eye on your kids at all times.

      • If you see a sick or dead wild animal, or a wild animal acting abnormally in this area, report it to your local animal control authorities. Rabid animals may show no fear of people and may even seem friendly or become aggressive.

      • If you are bitten or scratched by a wild animal or a pet, The Department of Health recommends the following guidelines:
        • Wash all wounds and contact areas thoroughly with soap and water.

        • Contact your physician immediately for evaluation. The Department of Health is available to physicians for consultation about rabies at (505) 827-0006.

        • Call the local animal control department to report the incident; provide them with an accurate description of the animal.

        • Try to keep the animal confined, but don’t risk further injury if the animal is dangerous.

        • Keep children away from all animals involved in the incident


      For more information about rabies visit the Department of Health’s website at https://nmhealth.org/about/erd/ideb/zdp/rab/.