Puppy at Texas animal shelter tests positive for rabies

STEPHENVILLE, Texas (AP) — Texas health officials say a 6-month-old puppy at an animal shelter in Stephenville has tested positive for rabies and anyone who interacted with the dog should be tested.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said in a news release that the tan and white lab mix was housed from Jan. 3-15 at the Erath County Humane Society in Stephenville, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of Dallas.

Rabies is spread through the saliva of infected animals and anyone bitten or scratched by the dog or had contact between its saliva and an open wound or the eyes, nose or mouth should be evaluated, according the the health agency.

The agency said rabies can be prevented if treatment starts before symptoms begin, but after symptoms start, the disease is almost always fatal.

It usually takes three weeks to three months for a person exposed to rabies to get sick.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the first symptoms of rabies may be similar to those of the flu, including general weakness or discomfort, fever, or headache.