AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Officials say an increase of rabies cases seen throughout the Panhandle this year could be due to the drought.
There are nine positive rabies cases in the Panhandle so far this year. There were only 10 positive cases for all of 2017.
Dr. David Faulkner, a veterinarian at the Hope Veterinary Clinic in Amarillo, says he's not surprised in the increase as this year is so dry.
"Last year we had a good rain year. This year is a drought year," said Dr. Faulkner. "Therefore the wildlife is coming into, not the wild, they're coming into towns or the outskirts of towns looking for food and water."
Dr. Faulkner says the lack of water in the wild is forcing animals into cities and towns, putting them in greater contact with domestic animals and making the possibility of transmission higher.
"Saliva is the most common cause of contracting [rabies]," said Dr. Faulkner.
Skunks, in particular, have been found to be rabies positive in over half the cases this year.
If you see an animal acting strange, you are urged to call animal control.
Also, make sure your pet's rabies vaccine is up to date.