Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rabies Risk?

I am sure this is more paranoia due to the fact that Mastocytosis causes problems with everything but I feel the need to post this here to see if anyone has any feedback:

Today Ethan and I were in the parking lots of a Michaels and we encountered a baby skunk. It was so tiny, maybe the size of Ethan's hand (not including the tail) and was stumbling around. It seemed lost, possibly injured, and very needy (it kept approaching the two of us as we stood in the rain trying to call various animal rescues/police departments to no avail). It was obviously a baby/young adolescent and should've still been with its mother, but it was alone.

The storm was getting worse, and we couldn't stand outside in the lightning storm waiting for the cops to possibly arrive to deal with the skunk. I ran into the store and they gave me a big box, which I handed off to Ethan. I didn't want to get too close to the skunk in case it sprayed (i have no idea if getting sprayed or being near a spray would send me into shock). I went back into the store, and ethan captured the skunk in the box (at no time did he touch it, at no time did it make any attempt to bite or scratch him) and carried it over to a wooded area far away from the parking lot. No physical contact was ever made with the skunk.

When we got home I developed a blinding headache (most likely the weather or my first ocular migraine) and decided to do some research on skunks. Of course it turns out that many of the behaviors our little friend was exhibiting could've been rabies (out in daylight, docile, unafraid of humans, weak) though they also may have been the result of being separating from its mother and not receiving adequate nutrition.

So, my chemistry/veterinary inclined friends, what, if any, risk does ethan have from interacting with the skunk as loosely as he did? again no physical contact was ever made between them, but i don't know if there is possible transmission through say, flea bites or something. and in kind, what is the possibly transmission rate (if any) to me or to him?


Kim said...

We live on the edge of a woods, and skunks walk like that....thus "drunk as a skunk" That is one of those things you don't think about while you are doing it....but I bet your headache was from being outside. I had a horrible headache all night, as I washed my car last evening. Kim

Bridget said...


Thanks for the history on that statement! i always assumed it meant so drunk you smelled badly of booze :)