The Real Threat Of Rabies In Horses: Always Fatal But Always Preventable

by | 01.18.2019 | 12:51pm

Annual rabies immunization is considered a core vaccine by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP); while rabies cases in livestock is fairly rare, the outcome is deadly if a horse is infected. Rabies is preventable with the administration of the vaccine, which is 100 percent effective.

A horse with rabies may initially not look ill; he may be off his feed or have a slight fever. Some rabid horses look lame or colicky. There are three types of rabies:

  • The paralytic form, where the horse is weak and acts neurologic, progressing to complete paralysis.
  • The dumb form, where the horse is not responsive to his surroundings and becomes recumbent.
  • The furious form, where a horse is hypersensitive and dangerous to himself and people around him.

Rabies has no cure and is fatal; horses die usually within 4 to 5 days of clinical signs. A positive diagnosis can only be made after the horse has died on a brain examination. Luckily, experts say it's totally preventable.

In addition to vaccinating, other ways to prevent rabies exposure include:

  • Remove open feed bags and put feed in wildlife-proof containers. Wildlife are responsible for 93 percent of rabies cases each year: Raccoons are most infected, followed by skunks, bats, foxes and coyotes.
  • Use caution when handling dead or stray animals.
  • Mow fields so wildlife can't make burrows close to horses and other livestock.
  • Contact Animal Control if an animal is acting strangely, such as a nocturnal animal out in the daytime.

Read more at Stable Management.

Twitter Twitter
Paulick Report on Instagram