City of Winnipeg officials are urging residents to have their pets vaccinated for rabies after a family’s pet dog was attacked by a rabid skunk.
Animal services officials said they received a report that a family’s pet dog had been bitten by a skunk. The Labrador mix and the skunk were both tested for rabies and results for the skunk turned up positive.
It’s the first time since 2006 Winnipeg has had a confirmed case of rabies.
Now, animal services is advising Winnipeggers to have their pets vaccinated against rabies and ensure their vaccinations are up to date.
Veterinarian Erika Anseeuw said if pets are not vaccinated, a rabies infection can be fatal.
Anseeuw said the risk of rabies is always present, and infected animals are often lethargic or confused rather than vicious.
"Just because we haven't seen one in six years doesn’t mean it doesn't exist," she said.
"That skunk that's squashed on the side of the road — maybe it was walking out in front of traffic because it was rabid. So, you never know."
Residents are also being asked to minimize food and shelter opportunities for wild animals on their properties. Officials recommend keeping food indoors and closing off sheltered areas like decks and sheds.
There are 45 veterinary clinics available to pet owners in the city that offer the vaccinations.