Minnesota dog tests positive for rabies

 A dog is standing on a sidewalk. Photo: Demy Becker/dpa (Photo by Demy Becker/picture alliance via Getty Images)

A dog in northern Minnesota has tested positive for rabies, marking the first rabies case in a domestic dog since 2018. 

According to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, an unvaccinated dog tested positive for rabies on Jan. 6, about two months after the pet had possibly encountered a skunk. 

In mid-November 2022, a skunk was spotted jumping toward the dog and hovering around an outdoor food dish. The dog's owner ended up shooting the skunk as it ran from the scene. It was never tested for rabies. 

About five weeks later, at the end of December, the dog was acting strange, having trouble swallowing and drooling excessively, so it was taken to the vet. 

The vet recalled no neurological signs but did notice frothing in the mouth. The dog tested positive for Lyme and Anaplasmosis. 

The next day, the dog's owner reported neurological signs and the dog died overnight. The owner then remembered the encounter with the skunk and the deceased dog was brought in for rabies testing. 

The dog tested positive for rabies on Jan. 6. 

The Board of Animal Health investigated possible exposures to the dog and provided recommendations for other animals on the property. There were five other dogs living there, three of whom were not vaccinated and two who were overdue for their rabies boosters. 

The unvaccinated dogs were placed under a six-month quarantine, and the dogs that needed boosters were placed on a 45-day observation period. 

The dog's family was recommended to get post-exposure prophylaxis treatment.

Animal owners should vaccinate their pets against rabies to prevent infection, the Board of Animal Health says.