Texas Hill Country News

Rabies Found in Meadowlakes: Homeowners/Pet Owners Advised To Be Cautious

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Earlier this week, in the Meadowlakes area, an Animal Control Officer impounded and submitted a skunk for rabies testing, which came back positive. Since then, the Texas Department of State Health Services has been working to inform residents of the issue, and advise with respect to next steps, should an area resident or their child/children come into contact with an animal that may also have the disease.

Advising that the outward signs consist of the animal acting out of the ordinary, they noted that anyone coming upon the animal should not approach it. Instead, they’ve been asked to call the Meadowlakes Animal Control Officer at (877) 816-8136. They’ve also asked that while outdoors in the area, residents and visitors please remain aware of their surroundings, in the instance that an animal with rabies might come close by. Pets are also subject to concern and owners are asked to keep them on a leash or in an enclosed or fenced-in area.

In the meantime, pet owners have been asked to ensure their animals are current on their rabies vaccine, which is required by the state for dogs and cats that are at least four months of age. A link for rabies vaccination information for pets is provided here, should you require further details. Otherwise, the Texas Department of State Health Services can be reached by calling (254) 778-6744.

Rabies Found in Meadowlakes: Homeowners/Petowners Advised to be Cautious

Photo: Facebook/Fairfax County Animal Shelter

Rabies is a disease that causes brain inflammation in both humans and animals. Early signs of infection can include a fever as well as a tingling at the site of exposure, followed by one or more of these symptoms: inability to move parts of the body, confusion, violent movements, uncontrolled excitement, fear of water, and loss of consciousness. Upon the appearance of symptoms, death is almost always imminent, and sadly, the disease can only be diagnosed after they start to appear. The window of time between contracting the disease and the onset of symptoms has been known to vary from as short as a week to over a year and is dependent on how far the virus must travel upon exposure to reach the victim’s central nervous system.

Rabies Found in Meadowlakes: Homeowners/Petowners Advised to be Cautious

Photo: Facebook/USFWS Southeast Region

Rabies is spread when an animal infected with the disease bites or even scratches another animal or human. Their saliva can also transmit the disease if it comes into contact with the mouth, eyes, or nose. Throughout the world, it’s most common for dogs to be infected. Over 99 percent of rabies cases in countries where dogs are more commonly known to have the disease were caused by dog bites. In North America, less than five percent of cases are caused by dogs and, instead, bites from bats are the most common source of the infection in humans. Oddly, rodents have been only very rarely known to be infected with rabies. The number of rabies cases confirmed in Texas by both county and year is provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services online at the link provided here, also broken down by month reported. Should you have any questions or concerns regarding rabies, please contact the department at (254) 778-6744.