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David Morgan
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Rabies Confirmed in a Bobcat from Hidalgo County

October 10, 2017 - Zoonotic Diseases - Disease

Bobcat had the Arizona Gray Fox Rabies Strain

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) and New Mexico Department of Game and Fish today reported that rabies was recently found in a bobcat near Lordsburg and are warning pet and livestock owners in Hidalgo County to make sure their dogs, cats, horses and other livestock get vaccinated against rabies.

The bobcat was confirmed to have the Arizona gray fox strain of rabies, meaning that there are most likely several rabid foxes also in the area. Residents should not approach wild animals and pet owners are encouraged to keep their pets on a leash and have their rabies vaccinations up-to-date.

Dr. Paul Ettestad, State Public Health Veterinarian NMDOH, said fox rabies has been a problem for several decades in Arizona and it was first found in New Mexico in Catron and Grant counties in 2007. Rabies is a deadly viral disease that can be prevented but not cured.

“This should serve as a wakeup call to people that there are wild foxes in the area likely infected with rabies, though other wild animals, like this bobcat, could also become infected,” Ettestad said. “Since pet dogs and cats that roam and hunt can encounter rabid animals and potentially transmit the disease to people, it is very important to make sure all dogs and cats are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations.”

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.
  • 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.
  • If you or a loved-one are bitten by an animal, or come into contact with an animal’s saliva, wash the exposed site immediately with soap and water. Be sure to report the bite to local animal control and seek medical care as soon as possible.
  • If you see a sick or dead wild animal, or a wild animal acting abnormally in this area, report it to New Mexico Department of Game and Fish’s Conservation officer for Hidalgo County, Officer Brandon Kempton, at 575-534-7901. Rabid animals may show no fear of people and may even seem friendly or become aggressive.

For more information about rabies call the Reporting & Surveillance hotline at 505-827-0006 or visit the Rabies section of our website.

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Rabia Confirmada en un Gato Montés del Condado de Hidalgo