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For Immediate Release

March 18, 2014
Steve Merritt
Public Information Officer
Montana Department of Livestock

Big Horn County Quarantined for Rabies

A rabies quarantine in Big Horn County was issued last week after several dogs at a single premises killed a skunk that tested positive for rabies.

Under Montana law, counties are quarantined for 60 days when rabies is diagnosed in a terrestrial animal such as a dog, cat, skunk or fox. During the quarantine, all dogs, cats and ferrets must be vaccinated a minimum of two weeks prior to any travel outside the county.

Rabies is highly preventable in domestic companion animals and livestock via an inexpensive and effective vaccine. Pet owners are encouraged to keep their animals up to date on vaccinations, and should consult with their veterinarian to determine local vaccination requirements.

Non-vaccinated or animals past due for their rabies vaccination must be either euthanized or placed under a strict six-month quarantine if they are exposed to a known or suspected rabid animal.

Anyone who is bitten or scratched by an animal should thoroughly wash the wound with soap and water and seek medical attention for the wound. Animal bites should be reported to the county health department (or County Sheriff's office after hours) as soon as possible.

It was the state’s first reported case of rabies this year.

The dogs on the premises where the rabid skunk was found were already under quarantine for exposure to a dog that tested positive for rabies on December 23, 2013.