Help! Something Bit My Horse

Rabies is a concern when horses are bitten by unknown animals. Find out how to protect your horse.
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Help! Something Bit My Horse
Rabies is a threat for our equine companions because they live in the outdoors where the skunk, fox, and raccoon reside. | Photo: iStock
Q: What should I do if I suspect my horse has been bitten by a feral or unknown animal?

A: Skunks, foxes, raccoons, dogs, cats, horses, and humans can become infected with rabies from a bite wound. Rabies is a threat for our equine companions because they live in the outdoors where the skunk, fox, and raccoon reside.

Saliva carries the rabies virus from one mammal to another through bite wounds. The virus eventually travels to the brain, and within days of reaching the brain the serious affects of the virus become apparent.

Most of the time in the horses we see the “stuperous” type of rabies case, with clinical signs including depression, anorexia (not eating), circling, and inability to swallow. Less common in horses is the “furious” rabies type, which results in an aggressive, hyperexcitable, and/or fearful animal

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Written by:

Erin Denney-Jones, DVM, is an FEI veterinarian and owner of Florida Equine Veterinary Services, in Clermont, Florida. Her interests and practice areas include chiropractic care, sport horse medicine, reproduction, general medicine and surgery, and preventive care including wellness programs, vaccinations, parasite control, and dentistry.

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