UA Releases New Equine Rabies Resource

With a domestic horse in Arizona testing positive for rabies, UA Cooperative Extension experts urge the public not to panic, but to instead focus on helping with disease prevention.

For the first time in seven years in Arizona, a horse tested positive for rabies, elevating the need to engage efforts to inform horse owners about about disease prevention.

The Arizona Department of Agriculture reported the case in April, and the domestic horse from Nogales, located in Santa Cruz County, had to be euthanized. Reports indicated that the horse had not been vaccinated.

Well before the case became known, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension experts Betsy Greene and Ashley Wright had been working on a new resource for the prevention of rabies in livestock. "Rabies in Arizona: Equine Risk and Prevention" was released in May and is the first article in the Horse Health Series.

The four-page document details the significance of rabies cases and how the disease is transmitted. The document also explains the early and advanced signs of rabies, such as decreased appetite, unexplained lameness, facial paralysis, excessive salivation, hypersensitivity to touch and self-mutilation.

Because no treatment exists for a rabid animal, prevention is crucial. This includes vaccinations in adult horses once per year in addition to booster vaccinations four to six weeks prior to foaling in pregnant mares.

"We are on the education and prevention side of things," said Greene, a professor of practice in the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences and a Cooperative Extension equine specialist.

Greene worked with Wright, the area assistant agent for livestock, on the timely publication. Both are responsible, as Cooperative Extension agents, for taking the science created by the University to the people of Arizona, often through the work of education and outreach services.

Although the resource is new, it is only one example of the ways in which Cooperative Extension experts are engaged in public education and outreach.

Greene and Wright also are members of the Arizona Livestock Incident Response Team, or ALIRT, with Cooperative Extension veterinarian Peder Cuneo, an expert in livestock. The team, launched to enhance the diagnosis of unexplained livestock deaths, is an education and communication partnership involving Extension, producers, veterinarians and the Arizona Department of Agriculture.


Read the rest of this May 18, 206 UA News article:

Date released: 
May 24 2016