Tests confirm rabies in skunk found near Miller Road in Ann Arbor
An Ann Arbor veterinarian who's tested hundreds of animals for rabies with zero positive results over the years got the opposite news on Tuesday after her own dog tangled with a skunk acting strangely.
From the Grand Rapids Press
The skunk was acting strangely, Theisen said.
"It kept charging the dog," she said, and the timing was odd for a nocturnal animal.
Several skunks with distemper have been reported in nearby neighborhoods in recent months, and Theisen said she expected that to be the case with this animal, too.
But Tuesday, she got the call from the virologist that the skunk had the disease.
She's not concerned about her dog, which was up-to-date on shots and received another vaccine for safety's sake.
Theisen said she, too, has received vaccinations because of her proximity to animals.
Still, she said, the incident should remind pet owners to get their pets vaccinated, since the disease is always fatal.
"There's no known treatment," she said.
Still, Cerniglia said, the incident doesn't seem to carry much risk for humans due to the limited exposure. Instead, she worries about pets that aren't vaccinated and the feral cats who live near Miller Nature Area. Those cats are at risk, and the people who feed them also could face exposure if the disease is found among the cats.
Even if there are more incidents among wild animals, Theisen said, people in the area don't need to fear a large outbreak.
"Rabies has been among us forever," she said. "It's always an isolated thing."
County health officials said they don't see this year's number of rabies cases as unusual.
In August, 92 people contacted the health department after encounters with potentially rabid animals, she said. Of them, 20 were recommended to go through rabies treatment.
"In the last couple of weeks, the volume has fallen off significantly," Cerniglia said. "That's normal for this time of year."