Rabies is a disease caused by a virus that results in severe inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. Rabies is transmitted in saliva through animal bites and scratches. All mammals, including humans, are susceptible to rabies. Immediate medical treatment is required if a person or domestic animal is exposed to rabies. If untreated, rabies infections are almost always fatal. With appropriate treatment, rabies infections are 100% preventable.
Skunks and bats are the most significant sources of rabies in Colorado, but other wild animals including raccoons and foxes can also be infected. Rabid animals usually show abnormal behavior, such as aggression, confusion, or lack of fear of people. Domestic animals including dogs, cats, horses, and livestock can become infected if they have contact with a rabid animal.