New Mexico struggling with rabies outbreak, state veterinarian reports

Thirty-two dogs, at least one cat and a number of livestock all have been euthanized near Carlsbad, N.M. following exposure to rabies.
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May 01, 2012
By dvm360.com staff
Carlsbad, N.M. — Thirty-two dogs, at least one cat and a number of livestock have been euthanized near Carlsbad, N.M., after exposure to rabies.

“This is one of the most concentrated outbreaks of rabies that has been seen in New Mexico for decades,” says Dr. Paul Ettestad, the New Mexico Department of Health's (NMDH) public health veterinarian.

NMDH reports that most of the deaths could have been prevented through proper vaccination—which is already required by state law.

Since Jan. 1, 12 people from Carlsbad's Eddy County have received post-exposure prophylaxis after exposure to the rabies virus. Eddy County is in the midst of a rabies outbreak, adds NMDH, with 22 skunks, one dog and one fox testing positive for the virus.

Ettestad is urging animal owners to comply with state rabies vaccination guidelines. “Everyone should encourage their family and their neighbors to have their pets vaccinated against rabies to protect their community,” he adds.