Rabies In El Paso County

posted: by: Aspen View Veterinary Hospital Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Rabies Alert in El Paso County

The El Paso County Health Department has confirmed two cases of rabies in foxes within the past month (July 20th and Aug 3rd, 2013). These are the first confirmed rabies cases in El Paso County this year, and also notable for being the first documented non-bat rabies cases in El Paso county west of I-25. Particularly worrisome for us at CatTails is the fact that both foxes were in our vicinity.

Rabies in our state is usually transmitted by coming in contact with infected saliva, especially by a bite, from bats or skunks, and less so by foxes or raccoons. The virus affects their normal behavior and can make them do very unusual things such as approach you or your animals when normally fear would prevent that from happening. Rabid nocturnal animals may be seen in the daytime.

Never approach or touch a wild animal.

Rabies is a universally fatal disease for an unvaccinated cat but is easily preventable through vaccination. If your kitty has not been vaccinated in the past year, he or she may be overdue. Please contact us to determine the rabies status of your kitty:

Aspen View Veterinary Hospital


Even inside cats may be exposed if a rabid bat flies into your home through an air duct, chimney, or even a door opened while bringing in groceries. With all the evacuations we have seen in the past two years, we also know that even cats who have never seen the outdoors may suddenly and unexpectedly find themselves outside and separated from their families.

Rabies vaccination is required by law in El Paso County for all cats and kittens over 4 months of age.

There have already been three documented cases of rabies in cats in Colorado this year. Those cases were in Larimer, Logan and Washington Counties. We don’t want your cat to be the next case!

Here is a link to the Colorado State Health Department webpage for more information on rabies:


Most recent alert from the El Paso County Health Department:

Rabid Fox Attacks Resident in Southwest Colorado Springs

August 9, 2013

A Colorado Springs man is recovering after being attacked by a rabid fox on August 3, 2013 on Broadlake View in southwest Colorado Springs, near the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. The resident was attempting to protect his dog when the fox attacked.

This is the second fox to test positive for rabies within 3 weeks in the same neighborhood. The first fox was found about a half-mile away on High Lake View on July 20. No one is believed to have been exposed to the first rabid fox.

These cases mark the first time that an animal other than a bat has tested positive for rabies west of I-25 in El Paso County. For the next few weeks, El Paso County Public Health will be doing enhanced surveillance for foxes. Public Health has heightened interest in reports of foxes from Broadmoor Bluffs, Old Broadmoor, Broadmoor Resort Community, Broadmoor Glen, and The Spires at Broadmoor. Public Health urges residents of these neighborhoods to do the following: if you are approached by a fox that seems unafraid of humans, or encounter a sick, injured or dead fox contact El Paso County Public Health at (719) 578-3220 and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (719) 227-5200.

"Finding rabies in the western part of El Paso County is significant because there are more opportunities for pets and people to come in contact with wild animals, so people need to be alert." said Jill Law, R.N., M.H.A., El Paso County Public Health Director. 

Rabies is fatal once symptoms appear. Never feed or touch wild animals, and keep pets and livestock rabies vaccinations up to date through a licensed veterinarian. Feeding wild animals makes them less afraid of people and brings large numbers of animals into small areas. This increases the risk of transmission of disease to humans and pets. Unvaccinated pets or livestock are at risk of infection, which also puts owners or family members at risk.

Preventive medication is available for people known or suspected to have been bitten by a rabid animal. It is important for people bitten or scratched by a wild animal or an unfamiliar animal to contact their doctor.

Take these precautions to prevent rabies:

Vaccinate your pets against rabies by using a licensed veterinarian. Rabies shots need to be boosted, so check your pet’s records or talk to your veterinarian.

When walking or hiking with your dog, protect them and wildlife by keeping your dog on a leash.

Keep cats and other pets inside at night when foxes and skunks are more active. Keep dogs within your sight (in a fenced yard, or on leash) during the day while outside.

Contact your veterinarian promptly if you believe your pet has been exposed to a wild animal.

Do not touch or feed wild animals. Wild animals like skunks and foxes adapt to residential environments if food is available – please don’t leave pet food outdoors.

If you or a family member is bitten or scratched by a wild or unknown animal, call your doctor and the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (719) 473-1741.

Contact an animal-control or wildlife conservation agency for assistance with "bat-proofing" your home. Information is also available at www.cdc.gov/rabies/bats/management/

How to recognize sick or diseased wildlife:

Healthy wild animals are normally afraid of humans. Foxes are active at night but can also be seen out during the day, especially if they are looking for food for their pups.

Sick or diseased animals often do not run away when spotted by people.

Wildlife suffering from rabies will often act aggressively and violently approach people or pets.

However, sometimes rabid animals are overly quiet and passive and want to hide. If they are hiding, leave them alone. Rabid wildlife might also stumble or have trouble walking.

Report sick or diseased animals to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife at (719) 227-5200.

Rabies is a viral disease than infects the brain and other parts of the central nervous system, causing brain swelling and damage, and ultimately, death. Rabies is spread primarily through the bite of rabid animals, resulting in the spread of the disease through their infected saliva. Rabies also can be spread when saliva from an infected animal gets into open wounds, cuts or enters through membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth.

Reports of Rabies in El Paso County, Colorado

2013: 2 (2 foxes – first cases reported west of Interstate 25)

2012: 3 (3 bats)

2011: 15 (5 bats, 1 fox, 9 skunks)

2010: 17 (8 bats, 4 foxes, 5 skunks)


Danielle Oller

Communication Specialist

(719) 575-8985

El Paso County, CO