Monday, April 19, 2010

Rabid Puppy Prompts Search

The Texas Department of State Health Services and local officials are trying to locate a potentially rabid puppy that was given to an unknown man April 14 in the parking lot of Joe’s Food Market on Highway 21 West in Bryan .

One of the puppy’s littermates tested positive for rabies. DSHS, Bryan Animal Control and the Bryan Police Department are trying to locate anyone who might have come in contact with that puppy or its littermates.

The missing puppy is an 8-week-old blue heeler mixed breed male with black and grey markings. The puppy’s owners gave the puppy to an African American man in his 30s who showed interest in the puppy outside the convenience store. The man indicated he was moving to Arkansas or Oklahoma .

The man and anyone else who comes in contact with the puppy might be at risk of rabies exposure.

Anyone who has information about the puppy or its owner’s whereabouts, or who believes they have had contact with the puppy, is urged to contact DSHS at (254) 778-6744. People who believe they have had contact with the puppy also should talk to a physician to determine if their exposures warrant a series of rabies-prevention shots.

DSHS officials say the missing puppy might have been infected with rabies in March from a skunk that infected its littermate. The missing puppy appeared healthy last week but had contact with its rabid littermate during its infectious period in April.

DSHS laboratory test results confirmed rabies in the first puppy. Testing of two other littermates is pending.

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.

Bryan is about 100 miles northeast of Austin .

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