A beagle-dachshund mix puppy approximately three months of age in Agency Village in northeast South Dakota has tested positive for rabies, the state Department of Health reported recently. In a news release, health department officials urged people who may have been bitten, scratched or in contact with the puppy’s saliva to call the  Department in Pierre, or their own physician, to determine whether rabies shots are needed.

The department’s number is (800) 592-1861.

The rabid puppy was found August 6 in the Crawfordsville Housing area on the south side of Agency Village and has been removed from the community.

Agency Village, in Roberts County, is where the headquarters for the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe is located.

Individuals who came into contact with the puppy on or after July 27 should seek consultation.

Rabies is a fatal, but preventable viral disease. Rabies is contracted by exposure to a rabid animal, typically through a bite. Scratches and saliva contact with broken skin or mucus membranes are also possible routes of transmission. Prompt treatment following exposure can prevent rabies. Treatment includes administration of rabies immune globulin and a series of four doses of vaccine administered in the arm.

Through the end of July, South Dakota has reported four rabid animals (all bats).

Skunks are the primary reservoir of rabies in South Dakota and are the likely source of this puppy’s disease.

Since 2009, 130 skunks and nine dogs have tested positive for rabies in South Dakota.

Pet owners are encouraged to make sure their animals’ rabies vaccinations are up to date.

More information about rabies can be found on the department’s website at doh.sd.gov/diseases/infectious/diseasefacts/Rabies.aspx

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