Dead fox tests positive for rabies, dogs quarantined

FILE - A fox in Austin (Courtesy/Carlos Higgins)
FILE - A fox in Austin (Courtesy/Carlos Higgins)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Anyone who has come in contact with a fox in the Long Canyon neighborhood is being asked to call 3-1-1 after a dead fox was found to have rabies.

The city’s Animal Protection officers have identified three dogs that came in contact with the fox before it was killed on Tuesday by one of the dogs. The Austin/Travis County Animal Services Office says these dogs are under observation and have been quarantined.

Officer Mark Sloat and his partner have been scaling the neighborhood, talking to anyone who could be at risk. “For every potential animal that could have contact with this rabid fox, the members of the family that have contact with that animal then could have exposure to rabies,” said Sloat.

He says the fox had aggressive rabies.

MORE: State using aircraft to fight rabies in wild animals

Elizabeth Alcocer’s dog is one of several under home observation. “I happened to be right by the window and saw the fox chasing my dog and trying to bite him.” She knew immediately the fox had rabies.

Alcocer was able to get her dog inside safely and he was not bitten. Thankfully her dog was up to date with the rabies vaccine, and she also got him a booster shot for safe measures.

“We like to hike around the creek. This was the first time that I saw something that frightened me with an animal,” said Sloat.

Rabies is always a concern, but authorities are really paying attention to what kind of rabies the fox may have had.

One particular strain, canine rabies, would be particularly concerning because it’s not currently in the area.

There’s also a concern it could be skunk rabies. “I don’t know that we’ve ever had skunk rabies in this part of Travis County,” said Officer Sloat.

No human interaction with the fox has been reported, the city says. The community is asked to report any possible contact with the fox in the past several days.

The city of Austin also has the following tips to protect pets and family from exposure to these wild animals:

  • Vaccinate your dogs and cats as well as livestock.
  • Restrain your pets. Do not allow them to roam freely in public.
  • Avoid contact with wild animals and unknown dogs and cats.
  • Do not touch sick or injured animals.
  • If your pet is bitten, scratched or in a fight with any animal, call 3-1-1.

For more information visit the city’s Rabies Prevention webpage. 

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