The Risk of Rabies is Real for Horses

Minimize the threat of all equine core diseases with annual vaccination.
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Minimize the threat of all equine core diseases with annual vaccination

By Kevin Hankins, Senior Veterinarian, Equine Technical Services, Zoetis

All horses are exposed to the five potentially fatal core diseases — West Nile virus, Eastern and Western equine encephalomyelitis, tetanus, and rabies. However, of these core diseases, rabies presents the most serious threat for horses because it’s 100% fatal. Yet only one in seven horses is vaccinated for rabies, leaving many horses exposed to this devastating disease. ¹,²

Alarmingly, horses are nearly four times as likely as dogs to get rabies.³ Horses across the U.S. can be exposed to rabies through infected wildlife, commonly bats, raccoons, foxes and skunks. Whether kept in a barn or pasture, the risk is real for all horses.

Rabies Is a Threat for Your Horse

To make matters more challenging, rabies symptoms in infected horses aren’t always what you would expect. “Warning signs of a horse that has contracted rabies doesn’t always show up as a classic rabies case — foaming at the mouth and biting. Often, it can be disguised as colic,” said Maggie Loomer, DVM, Durango Equine Veterinary Clinic

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