Second North Carolina Horse Tests Positive for Rabies

Both affected horses are from the same Polk County farm, which is now under a voluntary quarantine.
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Animal health officials in North Carolina have confirmed that a second Polk County horse has been confirmed positive for rabies. This follows another case confirmed in mid-August

A North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services representative told The Horse Aug. 31 that both horses were from the same Polk County farm. That facility has imposed a 45-day voluntary quarantine following the confirmed cases, the representative said.

Rabies—a zoonotic disease that can be spread from animals to humans—is caused by a lyssavirus that affects the neurologic system and salivary glands. Horses are exposed most commonly through the bite of another rabid animal.

In horses clinical signs of rabies are variable and can take up to 12 weeks to appear after the initial infection. Although affected horses are sometimes asymptomatic, an infected horse can show behavioral changes such as drowsiness, depression, fear, or aggression. Once clinical signs appear, there are no treatment options

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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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