For the first time in years, a positive rabies case has been confirmed in Glen Rose.

A skunk that was killed by two dogs owned by a resident in the Golden Heights subdivision tested positive for rabies when the city’s animal control officer and county’s rabies specialist, Tammy Ray, sent it to the Texas Department of State

Health Services for an evaluation. She received the confirmation last

Friday by phone.

Somervell County last had a positive rabies case in 2008. That year one skunk and one fox tested positive, according to the Texas health department.

“We don’t want to panic people, but want them to be cautious,” Ray

said. “Go get your pets vaccinated if they’re not.”

The dogs that killed the skunk had not had rabies vaccinations in six years and had to be destroyed.

The big carriers of rabies locally are foxes, bats, skunks, raccoons and coyotes, Ray said. Those animals have been coming around homes and into the city limits looking for water and for food during the extended drought.

“We know rabies is out there and around us,” Ray added. But unless an animal is sent to the health department for evaluation, it cannot be confirmed.

The department tests an animal's brain for presence of rabies. So often just the head is sent to the department for analysis.

Signs of rabies in an animal including falling down or running in circles. Foaming at the mouth occurs in the last stage of rabies, Ray said.

“Watch out for animals acting strange,” Ray added. “If they are overly friendly or overly aggressive, call us and we’ll bring a trap.”

The animal control office’s number is 254-897-3113.

Ray said she wanted to get out the word because rabies can have a “snowball effect.”

Skunks and raccoons may come into contact with feral cats, which come into contact

with domestic cats. That’s how an outbreak can spread.

“We want to try to get a handle on it now,” Ray said.

“I don’t want it to get out of hand.”

Rabies usually is fatal if contracted by humans.

After she learned of the positive report on the skunk, Ray also notified area veteri-

narians.

“If your dog or cat is not current on rabies vaccina- tions, get it in there,” Ray

said.

Last year the Texas health department reported 773 positive cases of rabies and

11,857 negatives. The department tests skunks, foxes, bats, coyotes, raccoons, dogs, cats, bovines, equines and other animals.

The largest numbers of positive cases were in urban

counties — El Paso with 21; Bexar (San Antonio), with 25; Harris County (Houston) with 28; Travis County (Aus- tin) with 69; and Williamson County (Round Rock) with

80. Skunks and bats were the leading carriers that tested positive.