Do all skunks have rabies?

Skunks are small furry black and white animals that are often adopted as pets by many. However, the main concern of the people surrounding them is that whether all of them have rabies or not. Technically, NO.

Skunks are famously known to be rabies carriers however, it must be noted that all mammals can contract rabies if bitten by a rabid animal. First, let us define what rabies is. Rabies or what is medically known as the Lyssa virus, is a disease that attacks the central nervous system of mammals. It can be transferred from animal to animal through saliva. Since rabies affects the central nervous system, a rabid animal will behave abnormally, walk wobbly, feel agitated, or in short – go crazy. Rabies can eventually kill if it is activated from its dormant state, hence the term rabid.

To make things clear with skunks and rabies, here is a list worth looking at:

• Not all skunks have rabies. Like other mammals, skunks can contract rabies if bitten by other rabid animals. Hence by itself; it is not an inborn rabies carrier.
• Most animals avoid skunks because of its defense mechanism which is the spraying of a very smelly, yellowish, fluid-like substance and not because it is rabid.
• Because of the skunk’s defense many animals avoid them and are in fact in lesser risk of being bitten by other animals.
• Contrary to statistics saying skunks are the number one rabies carriers in America; it is actually the stray cats loitering just about anywhere.
• Foaming of the mouth is a sure sign of rabies contraction, no it is definitely not. Distemper and other animal illness also have the same sign.

Although we can conclude that not all skunks are rabies carriers it is still better to be cautious and prepared. When bitten by a rabid animal, the victim should be immediately applied first aid and then see a doctor at once. You can do the following steps while waiting for medical help:

• Extract as much blood as possible from the bite. However, DO NOT SUCK THE BLOOD OUT!
• After that, wash it with clear vinegar no matter how much it stings.
• Then rub it with garlic.

Be sure to take all rabies shots afterwards because the rabies contracted from the bite will just stay dormant and might surface if triggered.

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