MISSOULA - The Montana Department of Livestock reported the first case of rabies in Missoula County in four years.
A skunk was captured in the Wye area of Missoula on November 18th. Earlier that day, a resident noticed the skunk acting abnormally and contacted Animal Control.
The Montana Department of Livestock has issued a 60 day county-wide quarantine for dogs, cats and ferrets.
The quarantine says that all non-vaccinated dogs, cats, and ferrets in Missoula County are not allowed to leave the county for at least 60 days.
If you are going to vaccinate your pet, they are still under quarantine until at 28 days from the date vaccination.
All dogs, cats, and ferrets that have their updated rabies vaccinations are exempt from this quarantine.
Rabies is a fatal disease of mammals that is virtually 100 percent preventable in domestic animals through the administration of rabies vaccine. Missoula County health regulations require that all dogs, cats and ferrets three months of age or older be vaccinated against rabies and re-vaccinated at appropriate times.
Historically, rabies in Western Montana is seen almost exclusively in bats. The last two documented cases of terrestrial (non-bat) rabies west of the continental divide occurred in Missoula County in September 2015 and November 1996.
“At this time, areas west of the Continental Divide are not known to have rabies circulating in the skunk population. However, rabies is present in bat populations in Western Montana,” says Dr. Anna Forseth with the Department of Livestock.
This article has been updated on November 11 with the correct date of the capture of the skunk after the Department of Livestock corrected the date in their release.