Dog That Tested Positive for Rabies Likely Was Infected by Rabid Skunk

humboldt county department of health and human servicesPress release from Humboldt County’s Department of Health and Human Services:

The Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) Public Health Laboratory has confirmed that a dog that was briefly in Humboldt County has tested positive for rabies.

This dog is believed to have contracted rabies after an encounter with a rabid skunk near Ruth Lake in Trinity County. An investigation has determined that the dog was in Humboldt County during its infectious period only on its way to veterinary care in Fortuna, where it was euthanized.

The case marks the second time in eight months that a dog has tested positive for rabies at the Humboldt County Public Health Lab. There had been no positive tests for dogs before that since 2010.

In 2016, 50 animals in Humboldt County were tested for rabies. Eight were positive, including four foxes, two bats, one cat and one dog. In 2015, only one animal tested positive in Humboldt County. In 2013 and 2014 there were no positive tests.

Rabies is always present in the wildlife population throughout Humboldt County, especially among skunks, bats and foxes.
Preventive measures include avoiding contact with wild and stray animals, bringing pet foods indoors at night, reporting any domestic animal bites to your county or municipal animal control officer. Wildlife bites should be reported to DHHS’s Division of Environmental Health (DEH).

Public Health officials stress the importance of fully vaccinating domestic animals against rabies, including dogs, cats and select livestock.

If you are bitten by an animal that may have rabies, wash the bite wound immediately with soap and water and seek medical attention. If your animal is bitten, contact DEH to report details of the encounter. Do not shoot a potentially rabid animal in the head, because the brain is needed for testing. If appropriate, keep a deceased animal for testing.
For questions about rabies or to report a rabid animal, please call the DHHS Division of Environmental Health at 707-445-6215 or toll free at 1-800-963-9241.



  • Sad, there is so many more skunks out in the daytime than I remember being in the past

  • Honeydew Bridge Chump

    Rabies is spread through skunk, meaning every grower is probably infected and is in need of vaccinations.

    Scary what marijuana will lead to…

    Just say no!

  • Classic Economics

    Could use some more info! How was the dog determined to have rabies? Behavior and the sign of a bite mark? The only way to test for rabies is to kill the animal and examine the brain. So they killed the dog, examined the brain and then determined he had rabies. What made them decide to kill the dog? Just a random bite and not being vaccinated? Did they find the skunk that bit him and test it’s brain? All those results above were found out from animals that they killed. So in 2016 they found 8 cases of rabies in 50 animals examined. I’m figuring that means they killed 42 animals for no good reason…unless there was a decent reason to suspect rabies…but I am beginning to suspect that the public health alarm has been sounded about rabies and so we are now just killing any animal who gets a random bite because maybe- maybe? Pretty sure the policy now is to kill and examine brains over the old isolate and observe? I sure wish somebody could address my questions…

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