Local veterinarians urging pet owners to get their animals vaccinated for rabies, following Otter Tail County case

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live)- A warning tonight for pet owners, make sure to get your pets vaccinated for rabies. A family in Otter Tail County is undergoing treatment after being bit by a rabid kitten on their farm. The cat was previously attacked by a skunk.

Animals have always been a big part of Rachel Sanden's life. She tells us growing up, she always had a dog and one time, a cat. And now, she has three fur-babies of her own.

"We have three dogs and one is just over a year and the other are five and six almost," says Moorhead Resident, Rachel Sanden.

Like most pet owners, she wants to protect them particularly from rabies. That’s why she says she keeps them up to date on their shots.

"Our vet does both of their vaccines at the same time, at the same appointment," says Sanden.

Dr. Jackie Schmid is no stranger to this very serious virus. She has seen plenty of rabies cases through the years. She tells us the animal most likely to carry the virus in our area, is a bat. In rural areas, it's most likely skunks. But she says no matter what it is, tracking down the animal that bit you or your pet is crucial.

"The best thing would be try and get ahold of that animal, whether you find it dead or whether you can actually kill the animal and can get it tested. Then, we know for sure," says Associate Veterinarian, Dr. Jackie Schmid with Casselton Veterinary Service.

Dr. Schmid tells us the best way to prevent the fatal virus is get your pet vaccinated. As for our dog mom, Rachel Sanden, she says she typically doesn't see a lot of wildlife around her home. However, she's not taking any chances.

"You want to be the one that it doesn't happen to so getting them their vaccines is pretty important for us," says Sanden.

Also, even if your pet is already vaccinated, Dr. Schmid says it doesn't hurt to come in and get them a booster shot.

As for the Otter Tail County family, they are undergoing treatment now which typically consists of a series of injections. Some other animals on the farm are also being tested for potential exposure.