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RABIES: WHAT IS THE RISK?

If contracted, rabies is 100% fatal for humans and horses.

During an outbreak, health officials are on the front line for slowing the disease and stopping it from spreading to other wild animals, pets, livestock and people. Public participation is one of the main tools for slowing the spread of the disease and vaccination is the main bulwark against the spread of rabies.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY HORSE HAS RABIES?

Typical symptoms of rabies that are seen in other animals are rare in the horse. Rabies can be difficult to diagnose when the symptoms first appear. Horses affected by rabies often appear as if they have something else wrong. The symptoms of rabies in the horse can include choke, difficulty swallowing, colic, lameness, strange behavior, seizures, paralysis and any multitude of symptoms. The furious form of rabies where the infected animal is aggressive and dangerous is rare in horses. Infected horses can take days before they show symptoms that are suggestive of rabies. During this period humans and other animals can be exposed to rabies by inadvertent contact with the horse’s saliva. Rabies is 100% fatal and the final diagnosis is made on post mortem by examining brain tissue.

HOW CAN I PROTECT MY HORSE?

Reata recommends that every horse in Southern Arizona be vaccinated each fall. The vaccination is inexpensive; very effective and very safe. Horses should be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian to ensure that the correct vaccine type, and dose is administered and the correct documentation is done. Also it is important that the vaccine be handled correctly to maintain efficacy. Horses are not recognized as vaccinated by health authorities unless the vaccine was administered by a licensed veterinarian

Please make sure your horse’s vaccinations are up to date?

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