HELENA – The Montana Department of Livestock issued Thursday a rabies quarantine for Big Horn County, meaning all dogs, cats and ferrets must be vaccinated at least 28 days before traveling outside the county.
The quarantine was issued after a stray cat tested positive for rabies, and state officials are concerned about possible human exposure.
The quarantine will last 60 days.
Rabies is a fatal disease of mammals that is virtually 100 percent preventable in domestic animals through the administration of rabies vaccine. A typical series for a dog or cat includes an initial vaccination at 3-4 months of age, a booster at 1 year of age, and subsequent doses of vaccine every three years. Pet owners are encouraged to keep their animals up to date on vaccinations and should consult with their veterinarian to determine local requirements.
This is the first case of rabies in a domesticated animal in Montana this year and the 16th overall. All other previous cases were in bats.
Anyone who is bitten or scratched by an animal should thoroughly wash the wound with soap and water and seek medical attention for the wound. Animal bites should be reported to the county health department (or county sheriff’s office after hours) as soon as possible.