A skunk has tested positive for rabies in Yellowstone County, the first terrestrial rabies case in the state this year.
The Montana Department of Livestock said Thursday in a news release that the positive case was confirmed Tuesday, and two dogs were exposed to the skunk and are being managed for possible rabies exposure.
The state has issued a 60-day countywide quarantine for dogs, cats and ferrets in Yellowstone County not currently vaccinated for rabies. The quarantine lasts from March 16 through May 15.
Animals past-due for a rabies vaccine booster, animals that are not 28-days past the date of first vaccine administration, and animals that have never been vaccinated are all subject to the quarantine.
“This case is an important reminder of the presence of rabies in wild animal populations in Montana and the need to keep our pets safe,” says Dr. Anna Forseth with the Department of Livestock in a statement. “Rabies vaccination is a low-cost, safe, and effective way to protect our pets and subsequently ourselves from this disease.”
Residents should report any contact between a pet and a wild animal, including skunks and bats, to their veterinarian or the livestock department to ensure potential rabies exposure are assessed for risk and managed accordingly.