Shultz, Thomas

The Department of Livestock Reports Skunk Tests Positive for Rabies in Big Horn County

February 18, 2020

Dr. Anna Forseth, MT Dept. of Livestock, (406) 444-2939,
Dr. Tahnee Szymanski, MT Dept. of Livestock, (406) 444-5214,

The Department of Livestock Reports Skunk Tests Positive for Rabies in Big Horn County

Helena, Mont. – On Tuesday February 12th, the Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) reported
the first case of terrestrial (non-bat) rabies in the state in 2020. The rabies-infected skunk was captured
in Big Horn County. There are no known cat, dog, or human exposures at this time.

The Department of Livestock has issued a 60 day county-wide quarantine for dogs, cats and ferrets (MCA
Title 81, Chapters 2 and 20). The quarantine is in effect from Tuesday, February 12th to Sunday, April 12th.
The terms of the quarantine include:
1. All non-vaccinated or not currently vaccinated dogs, cats, and ferrets in Big Horn County are to
remain in the county for a period of not less than sixty (60) days from the date of the last known
terrestrial rabies.
2. Any dog, cat or ferret in Big Horn County having been properly immunized against rabies for the
first time, may be released from the quarantine area after a period of twenty-eight (28) days from
the date of vaccination.
3. Any dog, cat or ferret in Big Horn County that is past-due on the rabies vaccine, may be
immediately released from the quarantine area following administration of a booster vaccine.
4. Written notification from MDOL will be provided when this quarantine is released.

Rabies is a fatal disease of mammals that is virtually 100% preventable in domestic animals through the
administration of rabies vaccine. The last documented cases of terrestrial (non-bat) rabies in Big Horn
County occurred in 2014.

“These cases are a reminder of the presence of rabies in skunk and bat populations in Montana and the
importance of keeping dogs and cats currently vaccinated for rabies,” says Dr. Anna Forseth with the
Department of Livestock. “Non-vaccinated animals that are exposed to rabid or potentially rabid wild
animals may be subject to an extended isolation and quarantine.”

Residents are encouraged to report any contact between a pet and a wild animal, including skunks and
bats, to Animal Control or the Department of Livestock to ensure potential rabies exposure are assessed
for risk and managed accordingly.

For further information contact: Anna Forseth, Program Veterinarian: ph. 406-444-2939.

The mission of the Montana Department of Livestock is to control and eradicate animal diseases,
prevent the transmission of animal diseases to humans, and to protect the livestock industry from theft
and predatory animals. For more information on the Montana Department of Livestock, visit

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