The Greenville Animal Control Division received a call Jan. 8 of a skunk fighting with a dog in the 2800 block of Polk St.
The skunk was shipped for rabies testing. Test results showed the skunk tested positive for rabies. This is the first case of rabies in Greenville this year.
In an effort to inform the residents of Greenville, the city has issued the following information:
• If your animal is not currently vaccinated against rabies, city staff is encouraging people living in the area to immediately have their animals vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. By law, the rabies vaccination is required every year when given the one-year vaccine and every three years when given the three-year vaccine.
• Restrain your pets and do not allow them to roam free, this is also prohibited by the city of Greenville’s Code of Ordinances.
• Avoid contact with wild animals, do not try to hand feed them and do not keep them as pets.
• Do not touch any sick or injured animals. Instead, call animal control at 903-457-2990. Signs of rabies include a change in behavior, wild animals that seem friendly or tame, wild animals which are not normally seen in the day time hours, animals that have a hard time walking, eating, or drinking, and animals that bite or scratch an old wound until it bleeds.
• Do not leave pet food or garbage out overnight as this can encourage wild animals to come onto your property.
What is rabies?
Rabies is a virus of the central nervous system. It can be transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal, or through the saliva of a rabid animal being introduced into a fresh scratch or similar skin break. Rabies can incubate from 14 days to 18 months, depending on the type of animal, site of the wound, amount of virus, and the age of the victim. The average incubation period is three to eight weeks.
There are two clinical signs of rabies, “furious” and “dumb” rabies. If the animal has the furious type of rabies it will display the usual “mad dog” behavior, irritable, snapping and biting at real or imaginary objects, and can be extremely vicious and violent. Paralysis sets in shortly, usually affecting the hind legs first, then in four to seven days, the animal will die.
If the animal displays the dumb type of rabies, the prominent symptoms are drowsiness, paralysis of the lower jaw, the animal will snap at movement and are insensitive to pain.
They can act as if something is lodged in their throat, prompting owners to try and remove the object and become exposed to rabies. They will usually die three to ten days after the first symptoms.
Report any animal bite, or any possible rabies suspect to the Greenville Animal Control, at 5800 Joe Ramsey Blvd., 903-457-2990. An officer is on duty Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. After hours calls can be directed to the city of Greenville police department’s non-emergency number at 903-457-2900.