Local rabies cases surface in Amarillo

Local rabies cases surface in Amarillo

AMARILLO, Texas- After a wild cat with rabies bit an Amarillo resident last week, animal control and local veterinarians are wanting residents to be on guard.

This isn't the first rabies case this year for Amarillo, and many are wondering if this problem is expected to grow.

Both Potter and Randall Counties now have confirmed rabies cases for 2012.

Traps were placed in the area of North Pullman Road near Rick Husband International Airport after a woman was attacked by a wild cat.

"Rabies is about as close to a perfect killer as we have in nature," Dr. Merten Pearson with Noah's Ark Pet Hospital said.

Thanks to post exposure vaccines, the woman survived.

The bite sparked animal control to round up nine additional cats and kittens in the area for testing.

Dr. Pearson says don't let your guard down as cats aren't the only culprits carrying rabies.

"Skunks are by far and away the most common carrier of rabies that we identify in the Texas Panhandle," he said.

Randall County has already seen one confirmed case involving a skunk with the disease with a handful of surrounding counties dealing with the same problem.

"There's two classic forms of rabies," Pearson explained. "One is called furious rabies where they are hyper aggressive and lose fear of humans."

This form of rabies can be seen with nocturnal animals.

The other form of rabies is called dumb rabies and in this case, the animal will usually be lethargic before attacking.

Because of the drought, we may see more rabies cases than usual this year.

Should you spot a suspicious animal, you're always encouraged to contact Amarillo Animal Control at 378-9032.