City officials in North Richland Hills are strongly urging pet owners to make sure that their animals are vaccinated, as an alarming three cases of the rabies virus in striped skunks have been confirmed.
Early in May, a striped skunk was located at the 7400 block of Continental Trail, and at first seemed like an isolated incident. Unfortunately, this now seems not to be the case.
The Texas Department of State Health Services Zoonosis Control says that a second striped skunk was found in the 7900 block of Woodland Drive on May 28th, and that the third skunk was located at the 7800 block of Ember Oaks on May 29th. Both tested positive for the rabies virus after people noted strange symptoms in the animals.
Symptoms of rabies in skunks and other wildlife can include unprovoked aggression, disorientation, or lack of coordination, and paralysis. Much like the distemper virus, rabies is a density dependent disease, which means that it will spread more quickly in areas that are heavily populated with wildlife and outside domestic animals.
Unvaccinated animals are at high risk for contracting rabies, particularly if they are outside often in areas that border forested land. People, especially children, may then be at risk for contracting the disease.
People residing in the immediate area may contact the NRH Animal Adoption & Rescue Center at 817-427-6570 to report sick or deceased animals.