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Dog bitten by rabid fox

CAVE JUNCTION, Ore. (March 11, 2011)  A dog that got into a fight with what turned out to be a rabid fox will spend 45 days in quarantine, according to national and state guidelines.

 If the dog had not been up to date on its required rabies vaccine, it would have been facing a six-month quarantine or euthanasia.

The rabid fox was shot by a resident on March 7 as it fought with the dog in the owner's yard. The fox tested positive for rabies on March 8.

The positive rabies test marks the 11th animal to test positive for rabies in the Cave Junction area since last year. It is believed to be the first time a domestic pet has also been affected. So far, one coyote, one goat and nine foxes have tested positive for rabies since 2010. (See 2011 map,  or 2010 map)

Pet owners in the Cave Junction area are urged to vaccinate their pets. Under Oregon law, dogs are required to be vaccinated against rabies but it is also recommended for cats and horses.

Anyone that believes their pet could have interacted with a fox or another wild animal should contact their veterinarian as soon as possible.

Rabies is a viral disease of mammals that attacks an infected animal's nervous system. Rabies symptoms in wildlife, particularly foxes and raccoons, include lethargy, walking in circles, loss of muscular coordination, convulsions, irritability or aggressiveness, disorientation, excessive drooling of saliva, and showing no fear of humans. Report this type of behavior to ODFW wildlife health hotline at 1-866-968-2600. (Residents of Josephine and Jackson counties can also contact their local ODFW office in Central Point at 541-826-8774.)

 In Oregon and much of the U.S., rabies is a disease of wildlife that occasionally spills over into domestic animals. It rarely results in human exposure and the risk to human health from a rabid wild animal is low. Minimize the risk and prevent other wildlife-related problems by doing the following:

  • Vaccinate your pets.
  • Watch wildlife from a distance. Don't approach or attempt to handle wild animals.
  • Do not feed wild animals.
  • Keep garbage in secure containers and away from wildlife.
  • Feed pets indoors.
  • Seal openings in attics, basements, porches, sheds, barns and screen chimneys that might provide access to bats and other wildlife.