Officials urge residents to vaccinate pets after rabid skunk attacks family's dog in Winnipeg
Published Thursday, January 17, 2013 12:13PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, January 17, 2013 6:37PM CST
The first case of rabies in Winnipeg since 2006 recently turned up in the city, said officials.
Officials are now urging pet owners to make sure their animals’ vaccinations are up to date.
Animal Services Agency responded to an incident where a skunk attacked a dog on Dec. 29 in south Winnipeg.
The skunk was captured and later tested positive for rabies.
The owner of the dog, a Labrador-retriever mix named Murphy, spotted the skunk in their back yard.
The skunk grabbed onto the dog’s leg and wouldn’t let go, until her husband beat the wild animal with a stick.
Murphy was not up to date on his shots when the attack happened.
Dr. Nancy McQuade, a veterinarian, treated Murphy for the bite on his leg and also gave him a rabies shot, even though the test results had not yet come back on the skunk.
“I absolutely was thinking why else would it do this if it didn’t have rabies? We were all not surprised when it came back positive for rabies,” said McQuade.
Murphy is now in quarantine and will have to stay that way for six months before it’s know whether or not the skunk game him rabies.
The Animal Services Agency said making sure pets are up to date on their vaccinations is the only way pet owners can be sure their animals are safe.
“Your dog or cat could be out…and get attacked by a wild animal and you might not even know that a wild animal has attacked your dog,” said Leland Gordon, chief operating officer with Animal Services Agency.
The city advised residents to keep animal food indoors and to close off sheltering spaces under decks and storage sheds.
The city said rabies is fatal and is a central nervous system disease primarily transmitted by saliva, usually through a bite from an infected animal.
Winnipeg has about 45 veterinary clinics that offer pet vaccinations. Some vaccinations are needed every year, while others are every two or three years. Officials said the best advice is to talk to your vet if you’re unsure.
The dog Murphy was attacked by a rabid skunk in south Winnipeg at the end of December 2012.