Rabies on the rise in Texoma

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SHERMAN, TX -- Nine animals in Texoma have already tested positive for rabies this year.

"We've had eight skunks and one dog that has been reported back to us, that has been positively confirmed to have the rabies virus," says Amanda Ortez with the Grayson County Health Department.

Two of those animals have been in contact with nine people in Grayson county, all of whom must now undergo a series of post rabies vaccines, which is very expensive and time consuming.

"That can be traumatic for some individuals to undergo all those shots as a preventative measure," says Ortez

Ortez says rabid animals may act abnormally, seem disoriented, or appear to be choking.

If you see this, report it immediately to the health department, do not touch the animal.

"If they have any cuts or abrasions on their hands, once they reach into the animal's mouth, the saliva will then make contact with that open wound and potentially expose the human," says Ortez.

She adds that you should keep your family and pets away from wild and stray animals.

Veterinarian David Tidwell says the best protection is to be proactive and vaccinate your pets and livestock.

"Rabies is a serious condition and there really is not a good treatment for it, so we focus on prevention. If there is any exposure, we want to find that out as soon as possible," says David Tidwell of Texoma Veterinary Hospital.

If you are bitten by a wild animal that you think is rabid, experts say try to trap the animal safely.

If it is threatening and you feel you must shoot it for your safety, do not shoot it in the head. Live brain tissue must be undamaged to be tested at a lab in Austin.

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