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Home News Cat Tests Positive for Rabies in De Baca County
David Morgan
575-528-5197 Office
575-649-0754 Mobile

Cat Tests Positive for Rabies in De Baca County

December 2, 2022 - Zoonotic Diseases - Alert

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Health is urging pet and livestock owners in De Baca County and surrounding areas to vaccinate their animals against rabies after a cat tested positive for rabies this week. This is the first cat that has tested positive for rabies in De Baca County based on records that go back to 1966.

“This positive rabies test in a cat shows the importance of keeping pets, horses and valuable livestock up-to-date on rabies vaccinations,” said Dr. Chad Smelser, Deputy State Epidemiologist. “Domestic animals can come into contact with rabid wild animals and then transmit the disease to humans.”

Barn cats and feral cat colonies are also recommended to be vaccinated against rabies.

Rabies is a deadly viral disease that affects all mammals and can be prevented but not cured. Most rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes. Rabies vaccination of dogs and cats is mandated by state law. Unvaccinated pets that are exposed to a rabid animal must either be euthanized or put into strict isolation for six months to prevent them from exposing people to rabies.

“A cat that tests positive for rabies is an indication that there may be other wildlife in the area with the disease,” said Dr. Smelser. “People need to avoid contact with all wild animals as several species are known to carry rabies. If you are bitten by a wild mammal, seek medical attention immediately.”

The Department of Health recommends the following to keep you and your family safe from rabies:

  • Always keep pets on a leash.  Pets should be up to date on rabies vaccinations and wearing current license tags on their collar. If your cat or dog has been bitten or scratched, especially by a wild animal, call your pet’s veterinarian even if the wound is superficial.
  • Horses and other livestock should also be considered for rabies vaccination to protect them from rabid animals that may attack them.
  • Stay away from wild or unfamiliar animals. Do not attempt to feed, approach, or touch wild animals (alive or dead). Teach this important message to your children and always keep a close eye on your children.
  • If you or someone you know are bitten by an animal, or come into contact with an animal’s saliva, wash the exposed site immediately with soap and water. Be sure to report the bite to local animal control and seek medical care as soon as possible.
  • If your cat or dog has been bitten or scratched, especially by a wild mammal, call your pet’s veterinarian even if the wound is superficial.
  • If you see a sick or dead wild animal, or a wild animal acting abnormally, report it to your local animal control authorities or the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish at (505) 827-9376. Rabid animals may show no fear of people and be aggressive, or they may be quiet and can even seem friendly.

For more information about rabies visit or call the Epidemiology and Response hotline at 505-827-0006.

Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.

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Felino da positivo en la prueba de la rabia en el condado De Baca