November 11, 2006
Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and local officials are trying to locate anyone who may have come in contact with a puppy adopted from the Weatherford/Parker County Animal Shelter that later tested positive for rabies.
DSHS and the Weatherford Police Department, the Parker County Sheriff’s Office and other local authorities are looking for the puppy’s original owners and for anyone who visited the shelter anytime from Oct. 21 through Oct. 26. Visitors who had contact with the puppy should talk to a physician to determine if their exposures warrant a series of rabies-prevention shots.
DSHS officials say the puppy was infected with the rabies virus before coming to the shelter and did not show signs of illness until after it was adopted.
The puppy was one of two that were found lost or abandoned near Heliport Road in southern Jack County on Oct. 18. Both were 8 to 10 weeks old and were mixed-breed males with short black hair and white or gray markings on their front legs.
They were taken to the animal shelter in Weatherford on Oct. 21. The puppy that later tested positive for rabies was adopted from the shelter on Oct. 26. Another family adopted the second puppy on Nov. 2. DSHS laboratory test results on Nov. 10 confirmed rabies in the first puppy. Testing of the second puppy is pending. An additional alert may be issued following those test results.
Anyone with information about the puppies’ original owners and anyone needing more information about this situation can call the Weatherford Police Department at (817) 598-4300 or (817) 598-4310.
The rabies virus most often is transmitted to humans through animal bites, but transmission can occur in other ways that allow the saliva of an infected animal to get inside the body of a person through open cuts, scratches or wounds or through mucous membranes in the mouth, eyes or nose.
Post-exposure shots can keep rabies from developing if given in time. Once symptoms of rabies occur in humans, rabies is almost always fatal.
Weatherford is about 30 miles west of Fort Worth.
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(News Media: for more information contact Doug McBride, DSHS Press Officer, Austin, 512-458-7524.)