Equine Rabies Refresher

Equine rabies is invariably fatal once contracted but preventable if proper steps are taken.
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Equine Rabies Refresher
Affected horses generally start displaying clinical signs two to nine weeks post-infection | Photo Credit: Tomas Gimenez

Equine rabies is a feared and fatal disease, but there are ways horse owners can reduce the risk of their animals becoming infected. Do you know what they are?

Allison Stewart, BVSc (Hons), MS, Dipl. ACVIM, ACVECC, now an associate professor at Massey University Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, in Palmerston North, New Zealand, shares some key points owners should know and remember about the rabies virus and horses.

Rabies is fatal to all mammals.

Stewart, previously an associate professor of equine internal medicine at Auburn University, in Alabama, explained that rabies–caused by a lyssavirus that affects mammals’ neurologic system and salivary glands–has at least six genotypes, all of which have different host ranges and pathogenicities

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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