It's here again: Today is World Rabies Day.
Please take a moment to think about this terrible disease and check your horse's vaccination records.
To make things easier, I've put together a list of ten facts about rabies in horses that are not complicated, but that are easy to remember. We need to be reminded of this terrible disease, because many areas of the United States are high risk zones.
Forget everything you think you know about rabies and remember these ten facts. Visit the links at the end of this article to learn lots more about disease in the United States.
1. Rabies in horses is a danger to your horse, your pets, your vet, your vet clinic's staff, and to anyone who comes near an infected horse--including you!
2. Rabies in horses can be prevented by a regular and inexpensive vaccination.
3. A rabid horse at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee in 2006 resulted in the federal Center for Disease Control attempting to notify 150,000 show spectators that they may have been exposed to rabies.
4. No test exists for determining whether or not a living horse has rabies. It is easily confused with other diseases that have neurological symptoms, including Equine Herpes Virus, EPM, and West Nile Virus .
5. The most common sources of rabies in horses is skunks! The most common sources for rabies in dogs are skunks, bats, and raccoons.
6. Rabies danger varies by states, usually according to the prevalence of rabies in wild animals, and the proximity of wild animals to humans (and horses).
7. According to the Center for Disease Control, rabies in horses is a very low percentage of cases among all species.
8. If you think your show horse or racehorse is safe from rabies, think again. Professor Leon Russell of Texas A&M University, a member of the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, reports that there have been cases of rabid skunks entering horses' stalls.
9. The American Association of Equine Practitioners believes that rabies is a serious enough problem that it lists rabies as a core vaccine for all horses. If a horse is already vaccinated but is exposed to a rabid animal, re-vaccination, followed by observation for 45 days, is recommended.
10. Rabies is invariably fatal.
To learn more:
Use the search box at the top of The Jurga Report to access older articles about cases of rabies in horses in the United States.
Rabies in Horses with Dr. Ann Dwyer, courtesy of America's Horse and the AQHA
Rabies in Horses: Should Horses be Vaccinated in Colorado? via Colorado State University Extension
Rabies in Horses: Michigan State University information for horse owners