JUPITER, Fla. – A rabid otter attacked a man last week in Florida, according to health officials.
The Florida Department of Health said the attack happened Wednesday in Jupiter, Florida, in Palm Beach County.
According to WPTV-TV, the 74-year-old told Animal Care and Control that he was feeding corn to ducks at a nearby pond and was returning home when he spotted the otter.
The man began to back up slowly while facing the otter when the animal attacked him for several minutes. The man suffered dozens of wounds on his arms and legs.
The victim told WPTV-TV that he was receiving shots for rabies exposure and was visiting a hand surgeon to see if he suffered any permanent damage.
The otter also attacked a pet dog in the area, according to the FDOH.
The otter was captured and tested positive for rabies, officials said.
Rabies, a disease of the nervous system, is fatal to warm-blooded animals and humans if not treated. The only treatment for human exposure to rabies is rabies-specific immune globulin and rabies immunization, the FDOH said.
Health officials said pet owners should adhere to the following guidelines to combat rabies:
- Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets
- Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If you or your pet are bitten by a wild animal, seek medical or veterinary assistance immediately and contact Animal Care & Control at 561-233-1215
- Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood
- Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated
- Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter
- Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home
- Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly
- Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas where they might come in contact with people and pets