August 30, 2014

Don’t touch wild animals

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July 11, 2013

Eleven people and several pets in Barre were recently exposed to the saliva of a baby skunk that appeared abandoned, and was rescued from the side of a road. The animal later tested positive for rabies.

So far this year, 31 animals have tested positive for rabies in Vermont.

“Wild animals are not kittens or puppies, and we want to remind Vermonters not to feed or touch wild animals,” said Robert Johnson, the Health Department’s public health veterinarian, in a press release.

The only way to rescue a wild animal is to make sure it is handled properly (with gloves and placed into a box) and brought to a state wildlife rehabilitator. Once the animals are improperly handled and people are either bitten or exposed to saliva, the potential for rabies requires that the animal is tested, which involves killing the animal and testing a sample of its brain tissue.

Without treatment, rabies is a fatal disease for humans and animals.

For guidance on what to do if you find a wild animal, contact the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department at 241-3700. Visit http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/wildlife_rehabilitation.cfm for a wildlife rehabilitator in your area.

Avoid any wild animal that is acting strangely and contact the Vermont Rabies Hotline at
1-800-472-2437.

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