Maryland Horse Euthanized Due to Rabies

Health departments in multiple Virginia and Maryland counties are tracing humans and horses that were potentially exposed.
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Maryland Horse Euthanized Due to Rabies
Two horses were also exposed; they were previously vaccinated and received boosters when exposure became known. They are under a 45-day hold order imposed by Montgomery County. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons
On Sept. 2, officials at the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) confirmed a 5-year-old Warmblood gelding in Montgomery County with rabies. The horse had showed signs of aggression and was euthanized.

The positive test results led to health departments in multiple counties in Virginia and Maryland contacting humans who were potentially exposed. Two horses were also exposed; they were previously vaccinated and received boosters when exposure became known. They are under a 45-day hold order imposed by Montgomery County.

Rabies 101

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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