Rabies test not possible on Durant beaver

BY SHEILA STOGSDILL Modified: December 24, 2009 at 2:08 am •  Published: December 24, 2009
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DURANT — Tests on the head of a 60-pound beaver that attacked a 5-year-old boy did not determine if the animal had rabies, state Health Department officials said.

"There was an insufficient amount of brain material,” said Laurence Burnsed, director of the state’s communicable disease division.

The beaver was beaten to death by the stepfather of the Durant child who was attacked Saturday after he tried to pet the animal.

The boy suffered bite injuries to his leg, and was treated and released from a local hospital.

The findings were reported to the family and to the Durant veterinarian who sent the animal’s head to the state agency for testing, Burnsed said Wednesday.

Burnsed cited patient confidentially as the reason for not releasing information about whether or not the child will receive rabies shots.

Several sections of the brain material were needed to run a conclusive test, Burnsed said.

"The skull was crushed to the point where there wasn’t enough brain material,” he said.

The boy’s stepfather killed the beaver by beating it with a crow bar or lug wrench after the attack, Durant police said. Police declined to release the boy’s name.

Burnsed said it is not common to do a rabies test on a beaver. The animals they typically test for the disease are skunks, dogs, cats and coyotes, he said.

It is not uncommon for a beaver in southeastern Oklahoma to reach 60 pounds, said Danny Clubb, Bryan County game warden.