Rabies Cases Up In East Texas - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

08/05/02 Mineola

Rabies Cases Up In East Texas

   Less than three weeks ago, Ray Tittle and his dog Buster encountered a case of rabies in their very backyard. "He was several feet behind me," Tittle says, "and when I, out of my peripheral vision, when I saw the skunk, I then turned and he was already half way to it. There was no way I could get ahold of him."

   Ray killed the skunk, but his beloved pet of fifteen years had to be put to sleep because of his injuries. That was the first of ten skunk sightings in the area, more than Ray had seen total in the last six years.

   Animals such as skunks and bats carry the disease in Texas every year. The Texas Department of Health says one of the main warning signs is seeing animals somewhere unusual, such as skunks in the broad daylight.

   Dr. James Wright explains, "We don't hear people saying I was hunting, I was fishing, or I was walking in the woods. They find them because the skunks come in their yards, wanting to find their dogs. Because these skunks lose their fear when they get this infection of their brain, which is what rabies is.

   Also, beware of animals acting strangely or injured such as aggressiveness from a normally passive skunk. The best way to stay safe is to vaccinate your pets, and look out for animals like skunks and bats.

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