Friday, 2 September 2016

All About ... Rabies

What is it

Rabies is a notifiable disease worldwide.  Although eradicated from all animals but bats in the UK it is still seen in many other countries. 


  • Drooling 
  • Convulsive lip movements 
  • Hyperexcitability 
  • Depression 
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Some horses become aggressive 
  • Paralysis (affecting ability to swallow initially) 
  • Death


Rabies is a virus usually transmitted by the bite of an infected animal eg: fox, racoon, bat, skunk.  Saliva is highly contagious.  Once in the body the virus moves into the nervous system and travels to the Central Nervous System.  From here it is then delivered to every part of the body. The virus has a varying incubation period, so although it is usually weeks it can be months or years before the first signs are noticed. 

Equine rabies is particularly difficult to identify early because bites are rarely witnessed and heal quickly.


Confirmation of rabies is generally achieved through tests conducted after death.



Call the vet. They will notify the relevant authorities. There is currently no treatment.


Vaccination in countries where the disease is still seen is the best way to protect horses.

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Until next time!

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