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Manitoba dog owner warning of rabies after dogs attacked by skunks

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A Manitoba dog owner is warning others to be careful about rabies after a rabid skunk attacked her dog earlier this month.

Ashley Bartel raises dogs at Lanfear Newfoundlands, and said one of her dogs was attacked by a rabid skunk earlier this month, while a second dog in the area was also attacked.

Video set up at her home in Oakbank. Man. shows one of the attacks, with the skunk appearing from under the deck and chasing after the dog.

She shaved her dog’s long fur and determined he had not been bitten.

The skunk was later killed, and tests found it had rabies.

Bartel said the dogs are all up to date but she is completing booster shots just in case and vaccinating her goats.

“The skunk was in the goat pen quite a bit,” she said, adding it was unusual for the critters to be out in broad daylight.

A spokesperson for the Manitoba government confirmed to CTV Winnipeg that two skunks tested positive for rabies in the RM of Springfield in the last two weeks. They said skunks pose the highest risk of rabies among all wildlife in Manitoba, ahead of bats and Arctic foxes.

“The province no longer traps skunks to test for rabies and previously gained information showed that skunks in southern Manitoba circulate and maintain the rabies virus in the population every year, which means there is always a risk that skunks in Manitoba have rabies,” the spokesperson said.

Signs of rabies in animals include aggressive behaviour, attacking people and other animals, and showing neurological symptoms such as stumbling, walking in circles or being very lethargic. The province said people should avoid animals showing these symptoms.

Correction

Editor's Note: This is a corrected story. We previously reported that the goats had to be tested when in fact they are being vaccinated.

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